Paul Pogba has offered a timely reminder to Manchester United of his worth by recording a career first with France.
The £89 million midfielder has endured a tough time at Old Trafford of late, with Jose Mourinho’s tactical tinkering sparking talk of a possible summer exit.
Pogba has been benched by United during a testing period which has seen his contribution and best position called into question on a regular basis.
His struggles at club level appeared to have been compounded when he joined up with France and was named among the substitutes for a friendly date with Colombia.
He was, however, returned to Didier Deschamps’ starting XI for a meeting with Russia and duly set about proving that he is deserving of a regular role for club and country.
Five minutes before the interval of the encounter in St Petersburg, Pogba provided the perfect through ball for Kylian Mbappe to break the deadlock.
He then found the target himself four minutes after the break when sweeping in a trademark free-kick.
Never before has the 25-year-old netted and assisted in the same game for Les Bleus, but his 51st cap has seen him set a new benchmark.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 27, 2018
Pogba will be hoping to carry his form for France out of the international break and back into domestic action.
United need him to be at his inspirational best over the remainder of the campaign as they seek to wrap up a runner-up finish in the Premier League and chase down FA Cup glory.
Mourinho will no doubt have been impressed by what he saw from Pogba against Russia, and that may influence his plans for a meeting with Swansea on Saturday.