Former France international Bacary Sagna has backed fellow countryman Paul Pogba to shine at the World Cup in Russia this summer.

The biggest international football tournament kicks off on Thursday when the hosts take on Saudi Arabia after the opening ceremony.

Pogba has had an inconsistent season with Manchester United, scoring six times. That will need to vastly improve next season and so will his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho – even if he says otherwise.

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Sagna, who retired from international football in 2016, has said that he is confident Pogba can impress on the world stage.

“Paul is a special character and he’s very important to the team,” the 35-year-old told Sky Sports News, as per Sports Mole. “He had a so-so season with Manchester United because he got a lot of criticism because when you cost £100m people expect you to score many goals, people expect you to make a lot more.

“People have to remember he is only a holding midfield player and he has orders from the manager and to me, a holding midfield player is there to protect the team and to defend first.

“That’s what he’s been doing, but I’m looking forward to seeing him shining and he’s going to shine.”

Pogba has scored nine goals in 54 France caps going into the World Cup, but since when is he a holding midfielder? He may have played the role before but that’s not where he performs best.

Sagna must be mixing him up with someone else.