Manchester United insiders recall why Alex Ferguson didn't trust Pogba as a reserve player

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Football News

Paul Pogba has been at the centre of Manchester United's resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Since the Norwegian took charge, the midfielder has contributed six goals, five assists, and has created more chances than any other player at the club. 

It seems the 25-year-old is finally displaying the kind of form which inspired the Red Devils to spend £89million on him two-and-a-half years ago. 

Of course, few have been surprised at his revival since Jose Mourinho's departure, not least because many behind the scenes at Old Trafford already knew what he was capable of. 

During his first spell in the north-west, the Frenchman never made much impression on the first team and was subsequently lured to Juventus with a £1million-a-year contract. 

It was a saga that left Sir Alex Ferguson bitterly disappointed and ultimately resulted in him calling agent Mino Raiola a "s***bag". 

United still had high hopes for the then-teenager, even if Ferguson hadn't been ready to plunge him in at the deep end. 

Indeed, the i newspaper have spoken to a number of former United insiders who have recalled why the Scotsman didn't believe Pogba was mature enough. 

When struggling with ulcerative colitis, Darren Fletcher spent some time coaching the reserves, a team which included prodigious talents such as Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Ravel Morrison. 

United were cautious 

Fletcher recalls:

“We felt like he [Pogba] was the one who would win us the game, coupled with the fact he was ill-disciplined in the middle of the park. It goes back to a famous first-team game when we felt like he left off the back of, against Blackburn.

Chelsea v Manchester United - FA Youth Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

"Paul was on the bench and the boss picked Park Ji-Sung and Phil Jones in midfield. We didn’t think he was disciplined enough for the reserve team never mind the first team at that time.” 

Fergie wasn't convinced 

Historian Tony Park, who has written on the United youth team and watched every reserve game during the period adds: 

“Pogba would have one great game, one average game and one anonymous game.

“It was why Fergie didn’t trust him. When he arrived there were 10 to 15 new players around the scene at the time, all with bigger reputations.

Manchester United's French midfielder Pa

"Ravel Morrison was by far the standout and coaches were giving him lots of attention. Pogba’s ability was not in doubt, it was his inconsistency, that’s been an issue all his career.” 

It's a familiar accusation but for the first time since his return, Pogba is really putting a prolonged run of form together. 

Crucially, he also worked alongside Solskjaer during that up-and-down period of his early career. It hasn't taken long for their relationship to pay dividends. 

Jesse Lingard
Paul Pogba
Phil Jones
Manchester United

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