Manchester United star Paul Pogba has conducted a wide-reaching interview alongside former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
In French outlet L’Equipe, ahead of the opening game of his country’s Euro 2020 campaign against Germany, Pogba touched on a number of topics.
He discussed the differences between Didier Deschamps and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s setups, as well as what he learned as a young player at Juventus.
It was clear from the jovial tone of the interview that Pogba wasn’t criticising Solskjaer – who he of course defended staunchly in April – and was happy to put the success of the team ahead of anything else.
“[France] play in 4-2-3-1, also a diamond. I am involved in the buildup play, but I have more freedom than at United to enter the box, to make runs forwards.
“[At Juventus] we were playing in a 5-3-2. I had the freedom, I had to be in the box, to attack. It was an obligation. At United, I have the freedom to go into the box, but the priority is to play and defend.”
When Vieira suggested that Pogba played better at Juventus because he had more attacking freedom, Pogba laughed: “I would like to play more offensive. To score fifteen goals per season is what I would like!
“But we must put ourselves at the service of the team. At United, as in France, the collective will always come before the individual.”
He also said he learned a great deal at Juventus, breaking into the team there as an 18-year-old.
“I got to Juve very young, at 18. You play with men. You have to be disciplined because tactically, they’re very sharp. They teach you the tricks of the trade.
“I learned defensively but also offensively. At Juve, I came as a defensive, central midfielder and they made me evolve as a more offensive threat.”
Don’t twist his words
There might be attempts elsewhere in the English media to make out that Pogba is blasting United or expressing his dissatisfaction with his United role.
But it just felt like a chat where he was comfortable and discussed the different stages of his career and the variety of roles he can play.
For France, Pogba has N’Golo Kante next to him and another more disciplined midfielder tucked in to the left – most likely Adrien Rabiot this summer.
That allows him the freedom to burst forward and of course the quality of France’s other forwards also pushes opponents back and creates more space for Pogba.
He said earlier this month that he’s still hurting from France’s Euro 2016 final defeat to Portugal, and of course carrying the pain of United’s Europa League loss to Villarreal.
That’ll likely spur Pogba on this summer as France look to back up their World Cup win in 2018 by conquering their continent too.
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