Paul Pogba back to friendly environment with France

Far away seem the days when Paul Pogba was praised for the mature displays that helped France win the World Cup.

For the Manchester United midfielder, the euphoria that engulfed French players following their title lasted only a few weeks as he fell out with coach Jose Mourinho on his return to Old Trafford.

Pogba's relationship with Mourinho has been complicated since his return to United in 2016. But it reached its nadir last month when Pogba was stripped of the vice-captaincy at the club and then appeared to have a spat with Mourinho at practice.

Following a poor start to the season, United is under pressure and Pogba's future there seems uncertain amid reports he could leave.

Such concerns are irrelevant when Pogba plays with his national team, and the international break is likely to provide solace to a player regarded as indispensable by France coach Didier Deschamps.

Pogba joined his teammates at France's training ground ahead of Thursday's friendly game against Iceland. France, which beat Croatia in the World Cup final in July, hosts Germany in the UEFA Nations League on Oct. 16 at Stade de France.

"I don't want to interfere with the relationship that he, or any other player, could have with his coach," Deschamps said. "But given the situation of some (players) in their clubs, the breath of fresh air brought by the France team can do them good."

Often criticized for his laid-back approach, Pogba took more responsibilities in France during the World Cup and is now regarded as a proper team leader. Pogba is crediting Deschamps, who uses him on the pitch in a less restricted role than Mourinho, for his positive influence.

"I have a very good relationship with the coach, he speaks straight to me," Pogba said.