Ahead of what is undoubtedly the biggest game of Paul Pogba's career Rodney Marsh has used his role as a talkSPORT presenter to dampen expectations of the French midfielder's career.
Asked what he thought of Andrea Pirlo's claims that Pogba is on his way to becoming one of Europe's greatest midfielders, Marsh said that the 22-year-old would never reach the levels of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Although injuries have slightly hampered Pogba this season, he has still managed to win his third successive Serie A title and the Coppa Italia, with Saturday's Champions League final against Barcelona still to play for.
Article continues below
So how does the French international compare to Lampard and Gerrard at the same time in their respective careers and what are his chances of making a similar impact in the footballing world?
Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to allow Pogba to leave Manchester United on a free transfer in 2012 still rankles with supporters who have seen him go from strength to strength at Juventus. However what is discussed less often is Pogba's move from Le Havre to United, and even from Torcy to Le Havre, both of which were highly contentious and signified his exuberant talent even at a young age.
Article continues below
Lampard moved from West Ham to Chelsea in the summer of 2001, following The Hammers' relegation although, at the time, he was far from being considered the same mercurial talent as Pogba.
Gerrard never moved from Liverpool, resisting moves to both Chelsea and abroad, and at Pogba's age he was already a vital part of The Reds first-team, being named captain under Gerard Houllier in October 2003.
Despite Marsh's claims that Pogba will never score as many goals as Frank Lampard the pair weren't too far apart when Lampard was at a similar stage in his career. Lampard scored 24 league goals prior to his move to West Ham compared to Pogba who has scored 20 league goals to date for Juventus.
While Lampard was nurturing what would becoming a trademark habit of arriving into the box at the right moment Pogba deals in the spectacular, scoring from long-range on a number of occasions.
Gerrard was behind the two in terms of league goals, scoring 11 times leading up to the 2002/3 season although, like Pogba, he was establishing a reputation as a player with exceptional ability from long-range.
Titles and Accolades
Pogba has already earned 22 caps for France, ahead of Gerrard, on 13, and Lampard who had earned a solitary England cap. However it is worth noting that Gerrard and Lampard were competing with the likes of Paul Scholes, Paul Ince and David Beckham whereas Pogba is already the most talented midfielder in the France squad.
Lampard only had one senior title to his name, an Intertoto Cup win in 1999 with West Ham, while Pogba already has an exhaustive list of team and personal accolades.
The Frenchman has won three Serie A titles, two Italian Super Cups, one Coppa Italia, not to mention the 2013 Golden Boy, 2014 World Cup best young player and a place in the Serie A team of the season last year.
Gerrard had also won a large amount of silverware for a young player when, in 2001, Liverpool won the FA Cup, Football League Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup. This is in addition to scooping the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Fans' Player of the Year as well as a place in the 2001 PFA Team of the Year.
Only time can tell
Trying to compare Pogba against two midfielders like Gerrard and Lampard with any great decisiveness is academic.
You only have to look at Lampard's career to see how a player can blossom and, while Pogba is clearly a top-class player, part of what made the pair so good was their consistency, something the 22-year-old still needs to develop.
As for Marsh already deciding that Pogba will be in the same bracket as Lampard and Gerrard it is not only controversial but completely unfounded.
Time will tell but, for now, Pogba will have his focus squarely on the Champions League final. He could do worse than to watch Gerrard's performance in Istanbul for inspiration!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms