Patrice Evra hopes Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba can avoid putting “image before football”, as David Beckham was once accused of doing.
The France international is well accustomed to making headlines on and off the field, with record-breaking transfer deals complemented by bold haircuts and a strong social media presence.
The 24-year-old has, however, been warned that he needs to be wary of falling into a trap where his exploits away from the pitch generate more interest than his efforts on it, with critics quick to pounce on anyone that they feel is blurring the lines between their professional and personal life.
Former Red Devils defender Evra told FourFourTwo: “If he has a bad game, people criticise him for what he does on social media or his haircuts, but he won’t change. He thinks for himself and acts for himself.
“I don’t want his image coming before his football, and although I’m not worried that will happen, I’m scared other people hope it does so they can criticise him like they did with David Beckham.”
Evra has also revealed that he is partly responsible for Pogba making a big-money move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016.
Four years after leaving United at the end of his contract, an £89 million transfer brought him back to England.
Pogba needed little encouragement to make the switch, but Evra claims he helped to nudge a fellow countryman in the right direction.
He added: “I told him that if he was going to leave then he should join United.
“Juve is a great club and I would have been happy if he’d stayed with us, but I said Man United is a massive opportunity for him.
“Paul is like a brother to me and I want the best for him.”