By Patrick Johnston
BRASILIA, June 30 (Reuters) - Paul Pogba's goalscoring display in France's 2-0 win over Nigeria showcased how talented the young midfielder is, with coach Didier Deschamps hoping to see those skills on a more regular basis.
The Juventus player headed France in front in the 79th minute of their World Cup last 16 clash at the Brasilia national stadium on Monday to cap a man-of-the-match display after reacting well to being dropped earlier in the tournament.
The 21-year-old had been fortunate to escape a red card in the 3-0 opening Group E win over Honduras and subsequently lost his place in the side for the 5-2 demolition of Switzerland.
He returned against Ecuador but another indifferent performance put his starting place in jeopardy against the Nigerians.
Deschamps, though, kept faith and was duly rewarded as Pogba continued to drive forward from midfield on Monday, almost scoring a brilliant volley in the first half before bagging the crucial opener in the second.
"He showed his potential today," Deschamps told reporters.
"Maybe he played a bit more simply today and all the credit is due to him.
"I did not doubt his ability and he played a remarkable match. I hope he can do it on a regular basis now."
TOUGHEN HIM UP
Pogba's talents have never been in question.
He oozes class and is the complete box-to-box midfielder, compared routinely with former France great Patrick Vieira.
But while Vieira was able to churn out an endless run of great display's the same can't be said of Pogba - yet.
Fans of Juventus may disagree, though, as he has quickly forced himself into the starting lineup of the Italian champions after leaving Manchester United in 2012.
That transfer away from England saw the Frenchman described as "the one Alex Ferguson should not have let go".
The move to Italy also brought questions, with Pogba outspoken in his criticism of former United manager Ferguson for not giving him a starting berth and the chance to shine.
Firing out criticism often draws it in return and the young midfielder has seen plenty, especially when pundits believe he isn't performing at the level he should.
"He is young. I think it's normal he gets criticised, it's part of a top player's life," Deschamps said.
"I think it will toughen him up a bit."
After an all-action display, Nigerians might say he is tough enough. (Additional reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by Ken Ferris)