Luca Ercolani praises Paul Pogba in interview after Manchester United exit

Defender Luca Ercolani sealed his exit from Manchester United to join Carpi in his native Italy last week.

Ercolani has joined the Serie C side in search of more regular football having failed to make the breakthrough from the Under 23 side.

There don’t seem to be any hard feelings based on his interview with Italian outlet TMW, however.

He reserved praise for Paul Pogba and Juan Mata in particular, claiming that there are too many false stories surrounding the French World Cup winner.

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“I bonded a lot with Juan Mata who sent me a very touching message of greeting and good luck when I left,” said Ercolani.

“Then all the Spanish and Latin boys and obviously Matteo Darmian while he was at Manchester. It’s a young group, everyone has put themselves in my shoes. Juan was special, he is an example (to follow).”

When asked about Pogba, he said: “We hear a lot about him, but he is a very intelligent boy and footballer. He trains hard. Maybe you think he is a show-off, or a prima donna. 

“Instead, he always trains seriously. I’ve never seen him out of line. There are so many wrong rumors. Too many made up stories. On the pitch he is always at the top.”

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The comments made by Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola have infuriated United fans – with good reason – but Ercolani’s comments are consistent with what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeps saying about Pogba himself.

It seems he’s a popular member of the squad who doesn’t cause problems for the manager or underperform in training.

He has had a good recent spell and did a job for the team in an unfamiliar right-sided role at Anfield yesterday.

If he had managed to get his shot across Alisson late on yesterday, we’d be talking about Pogba the match-winner for the second United game in a row today.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.