The 25-year-old’s form for Manchester United under Jose Mourinho this season has been indifferent, with questions marks raised around how to get the best out of the Frenchman.
Didier Deschamps, who has a plethora of midfield talent at his disposal ahead of this summer’s tournament in Russia, will also be faced with the decision of how to make the most of the former Juventus man’s talents, without compromising his side’s balance.
Pogba scored and set up another in France’s 3-1 friendly win against hosts Russia last month, and Desailly, who was speaking following Hublot’s Match of Friendship in Dubai, believes his positive display came from being played on the right of a midfield three.
“Where do you put Pogba? Again as a playmaker, or as a holding midfielder? Is he a defensive midfielder in two, with a three, or just with [N’Golo] Kante who will stay?,” Desailly told Sport360.
“I think on the right of the midfield three is best. Because you cannot count on him for 90 minutes of defending. He has the pretension, and everyone sees it, that he can attack, he can create and he can go forward. You feel restricted when you get him in a defensive position.”
20 years on from France’s World Cup success on home soil, Desailly believes Deschamps’ side have the quality to replicate that feat, but insists they won’t be the favourites in Russia this summer.
“I think it’s quite difficult for Didier to put down his tactical setup, but once he has done that, France will probably show great ability,” Desailly added.
“They can (win the World Cup) but there are teams that are better than them at the moment. The Brazilian, Spanish and German teams, especially the Brazilians, collectively and individually they are much better.”
The finals in Russia are coming into sharper focus as club matters conclude, with the Three Lions’ Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd now just 68 days away.
Rashford is all but certain to be in the squad announced by Gareth Southgate in mid-May and the Manchester United forward cannot wait to represent his country in a World Cup for the first time.
“The England squad’s quite young, so there’s just a massive bundle of excitement buzzing around,” he said.
“Everyone’s excited to just go there and do as best as we can.
“(Gareth Southgate has) brought a massive amount of freedom, especially to the forward players, but it’s within a structure.
“So, we have a baseline and we know what we’re doing.
“We know what our individual roles are, and we still need to learn and develop that.
“But yeah, it’s enjoyable playing under him and we just hope for the most success possible, in the World Cup.”
Rashford claims not to have yet dreamt about reaching the Luzhniki finale, but the forward does have silverware in his mind as United’s season ends.
The Red Devils have a Wembley semi-final against Tottenham to look forward to next weekend and the 20-year-old is determined to go on to win the competition, as well as sealing second spot in the Premier League.
“I think our main focus now is finishing second in the league,” Rashford told Inside United. “That’s important for us and winning the FA Cup.
“If those two things happen, then we’ve took what we can out of the season at this point.
“They’re the most important things.”
Success on a collective and individual basis is Rashford’s focus right now.
Nobody has made more appearances for United since Mourinho’s appointment, but reports suggest the forward is unhappy at the lack of Premier League minutes he has been getting.
Rashford, who has made 97 appearances as either starter of substitute under the Portuguese, appears to be looking at the bigger picture.
“I wasn’t aware of (the statistic that I played most for Mourinho) before I saw it and it’s something to be proud of,” he said.
“But we always want more, and we always want to show progression individually and as a team, so the numbers don’t really matter as much as the results do to me.”
Provided by PA Sport
Russia intends to spend more than €162 million to make sure stadiums built for the World Cup do not go to waste after the showpiece ends.
The hosts are trying to use the football final to revive fan interest in the struggling domestic leagues.
Each of the 11 host cities is either getting a brand new arena or having an existing one refurbished from the ground up.
The idea is to replace cavernous all-purpose stadiums in which supporters are exposed to the sun and snow with modern ones outfitted with the latest amenities.
Vladimir Putin issued an order last October requiring his government to draft a World Cup “legacy” programme that raises club-match attendance and boosts youth player development.
But the question long facing Russia has been how to reap rewards from the massive investment in cities where local clubs play second-tier football.
The cabinet’s proposal reported by state media on Tuesday admits that the government will have to foot the bill in some places until 2023.
“Keeping in mind the high cost of stadium operations and the low expected football club revenues, it is impossible to expect stadium use to be commercially viable in the next 3-5 years,” the government programme says.
The RIA Novosti state news agency said the government wants to assign 16.6 billion rubles ($265 million) to the legacy programme.
Most of that money – $190 million – will come from the federal budget and be assigned to keeping stadiums open in seven of the smaller host cities.
Some of the money will also be spent on training facilities and youth football centres.
Russia admits that it will not turn a profit as host.
But it views the international football extravaganza as a chance to make a long-term investment in a game that has struggled since Soviet times.
It also dearly wants to avoid getting stuck with white elephants, stadiums built for major events that turn into abandoned symbols of mismanagement and excess.
The problem has most recently attracted attention after the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.
Provided by AFP Sport