Jamie Carragher accused Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba of taking a swipe at long-term critic Graeme Souness “below the belt”, while the former Liverpool footballer challenged him to “put your medals on the table”.
The response came after Pogba claimed he hadn’t heard of Souness before the criticism started, despite winning three European Cups and five English league titles during his hugely successful stint at Anfield and also turning out for Sampdoria and Rangers before managing eight different clubs.
Since ending his management days after being sacked by Newcastle in 2006, Souness has made a career out of football punditry, having been a part of the Premier League’s coverage for the last decade.
And he has had more than his fair share to say on Pogba since his return to United in 2016, with Souness the Frenchman’s most high-profile critics over the last few years for a perceived lack of effort and dedication.
Asked on a Manchester United podcast about those comments, the Old Trafford No 6 offered his response, noting that he doesn’t hang around after the final whistle to check out pundits’ views.
“I didn’t even know who he was, really,” he said. “I heard he was a great player and stuff like that. I know the face but (not) the name.
“Like I said, I’m not someone that watches a lot of (punditry), I watch a lot of football but I don’t stay after the game to listen to what they say about ‘Why they did this’ or ‘Why they did that’. I like to focus on football.”
The jibe received a response initially from former Liverpool defender Carragher, who leapt to the defence of his Sky Sports colleague on Tuesday morning.
“There’s been a story about Paul Pogba this morning and the interesting thing about it is we’re quite critical of Paul Pogba but I think when you’re a player you’ve got to be respectful, certainly of certain former players with certain opinions,” Carragher said on Sky Sports News.
“At times you have to take that criticism on the chin. So for Pogba to come out and say he’d never heard of Graeme Souness, I thought really was below the belt.”
Souness was happy to laugh off Pogba’s quip, adding “I’m happy with that” to Carragher’s defence, though presenter David Jones managed to prod him into something of a response by asking to compare their winners’ medals.
While Souness has a larger collection from his career, Pogba does at least boast a World Cup winners’ medal along with four Serie A titles, a Europa League triumph and three domestic cup wins among his haul.
“The oldest saying in football comes to mind, put your medals on the table, and I’ve got a big table!” Souness added, before moving the conversation on swiftly to another subject.
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