Diego Forlan: no doubt Pogba will be a great player for Manchester United
Diego Forlan writes a weekly column for The National, appearing each Friday. The former Manchester United, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid striker has been the top scorer in Europe twice and won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup. Forlan’s column is written with the assistance of European football correspondent Andy Mitten.
Paul Pogba is a great player. Let’s get that clear straight away.
He arrived at Manchester United four years after I left the club so I only started watching him closely when he joined Juventus.
He scored some great goals from outside and inside the box, made some fantastic assists too.
As a goalscorer, he surprised me with the confidence which he played and his technique – he can shoot with both feet.
For such a tall man he has immense ball control and he’s very difficult to push off the ball.
He knew how to pick a pass too, to hit a long accurate pass which found his teammates, to change position during games to improve his team and confuse opponents. He never seemed to tire and his status rose from that of a player of much potential to the best young midfielder in the world, one wanted by all the biggest clubs.
But he was already playing for a big, rich, successful club in Juventus. They didn’t need or want to sell him, so if he left it was going to be for a very, very high fee.
He’s getting a lot of criticism at the moment because people don’t think he’s doing enough for United.
Though he already has a lot of experience and far more international caps than the former players now criticising him had when they were the same age, he’s still young and still to reach his physical and mental peak.
He can play at the top level for another 12 years. He’s also at a club which can be patient, which is stable and where players are usually given time to develop and supported in a really professional environment.
The fans are patient too and I speak from experience when I took a lot longer than I would have hoped to score my first goal at Old Trafford. As a player you appreciate that massively – because there’s nothing as bad as when your own fans turn on you.
I think you’ll see a better Pogba next season, a player more relaxed with a proper pre-season behind him because he didn’t have that this season.
He also had all the fuss around his move from Juventus to Manchester, a major event in football which must have been distracting, if not for him, then his family too.
He moved from being a player who cost Juventus nothing and from whom any success was a bonus to someone who was expected to produce magic, win football matches and score great goals – despite joining a team which had been struggling so much that they didn’t make the Uefa Champions League this season. And a Champions League without Manchester United is like a pizza with no toppings.
Mourinho has not been at the club a year. He’ll buy more players in the close season, better players to continue improving United, players who will fit in around Pogba because in spending all that money and getting him ahead of clubs like Real Madrid, United have made it clear that he’s going to be their man for the future in a way that Zlatan Ibrahimovic can’t because he is 35.
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