Since his move to Juventus from Manchester United last summer, Paul Pogba has been a great addition to the Old Lady as they look to retain their Serie A title.
Pogba was brought up in the academy of Manchester United and was always been tipped to become a great player. He was brought to the club in controversial fashion from French club Le Havre, who accused United of effectively stealing the player.
Since his arrival at Old Trafford in the summer of 2009, Pogba immediately impressed the youth coaches and it wasn't long before Sir Alex Ferguson would be in the stands at youth games watching this young prodigy. He quickly established himself as the star of the under-18s and was soon promoted to the reserves for his impressive performances.
Pogba wasted no time to show his class for the reserves as he helped them to win the FA Youth Cup in 2011. Soon after that Pogba was invited to the first-team to represent Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup against Crawley Town in February 2011. Pogba wasn't used in the match but it was a sign that he was close to making a first-team appearance.
Pogba made his first-team debut in the League Cup match against Leeds United in September 2011, coming on as a half-time substitute. The Red Devils went on to win the match 3-0. He made his Premier League debut against Stoke City the following January, replacing Javier Hernandez on 72 minutes. Pogba would only manage three Premier League appearance for United which was certainly not pleasing for the young Frenchman.
Pogba has great belief in his ability and this was also something Sir Alex praised him for. He was described as a boy with a "great talent and tremendous physique". His style of play has been compared to that of Patrick Vieira because of his silky passing, composure on the ball and his long strides as he surged through midfield. He is also known for his accurate long-range shooting and his strong tackling.
With the retirement of Paul Scholes at the end of the 2010/11 season, Pogba was expected to play a huge part in the future of the United midfield from the 2011/12 season onwards. He also participated in the pre-season match against Marseille and made a good impression which suggested he could play a part for the Red Devils in the upcoming season. United made a great start to the season but injuries forced them to recall Scholes, and Pogba was left out.
This prompted Pogba to consider his future and look elsewhere for first-team opportunities. He found this from Juventus after he was told by Juventus manager Antonio Conte that he needed back-up for Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal. This prompted Pogba to reject a new Manchester United contract in order to move to Juventus.
Since his move to Juventus Pogba has shown that he is more than capable on the big stages. He has stepped up when called upon and has delivered massively. He has already scored 22 appearances for Old Lady in the Serie A scoring five goals. He has also made six appearances in the Champions League and has been impressive even though he is yet to score in the competition. Due to his form for his club, he was called up to the French national team for World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Spain.
Pogba made a huge impression in the midfield for France especially against Spain. Despite being surrounded by the likes of Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, Pogba showed great courage and strength to impose himself on the game. He was not fazed by the world-class opponents he faced and maybe was too enthused - because he was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.
Due to his form and playing style for club and country this season, many are suggesting that Ferguson must be looking on with regret that he allowed him to leave. He is exactly the type of midfielder that United seem to have been seeking for years and they had him right under their nose and he slipped away.
Pogba can now form a great midfield for France with the like of Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi and Etienne Capoue. With the suspension of Yann M'Vila from the national team, Pogba has the opportunity to cement his place in the French team and can seal his place in the squad for Brazil 2014. With displays such as that against Spain it's a formality that Pogba will have other opportunities in the national team and with his ability he can lay down his marker and show the France manager, Didier Deschamps, that he is defensive midfielder to lead the French team into the future.
At the age of just 20, there is still a lot for Pogba to learn and bring to his game. He is with Pirlo everyday in training and therefore can learn from one of the best midfielder in Europe. Pogba has lots of confidence in himself and has great composure on the ball which is a great sign at such a young age. The French population will no doubt be excited about him and he will surely be seen as a player who can bring future success to the nation.
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