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Pogba with his France team-mates.

'Pogba is the World Cup's outstanding midfielder'

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Nicky Butt feels it will be a proud moment for the Manchester United Academy when graduate Paul Pogba walks out at the Luzhniki Stadium for the 2018 World Cup final.

Didier Deschamps' France are currently preparing to face Croatia in Moscow with a place in the history books up for grabs, and Pogba is expected to start the match following a string of excellent performances in the tournament.

The 25-year-old has already spoken of his determination to lift football’s most famous trophy, particularly after he and Les Blues suffered that gutting Euro 2016 final defeat to Portugal.

If Pogba succeeds in his mission to add a second gold star to the famous France shirt – the first arrived in 1998 - then he will become the fourth United player to win the World Cup during their stay at Old Trafford, following in the footsteps of England’s 1996 heroes Sir Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles and John Connelly.

 
Nicky Butt in Austia.
Nicky Butt has been working with the club's Academy players in Austria this week.
Butt, our current Head of Academy, says everybody at the club is delighted to see a graduate performing so well on the biggest stage and even describes Paul as the
“outstanding midfielder”
in Russia.

“We’re massively proud of Paul being in the World Cup final,”
Nicky told ManUtd.com’s Adam Marshall during an exclusive interview in Obertraun, Austria, where the youth teams were training from Wednesday to Saturday of this week.

“It was unfortunate for England losing to Croatia. They had a great World Cup and they’ll be kicking themselves because of the opportunity to get to the final. But it’s a young team that has done really well and hopefully there are a lot of good times ahead of us for England. 

“For Paul, he has been great. I actually think, from watching the games, that he is probably the outstanding midfielder in the tournament, if I’m honest. He has looked so dominant and positive with the ball, and he’s got into the box and been a threat as well. So it’s all good for him.”

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Butt - who starred at the 2002 World Cup with England – is confident Pogba and France will prevail against a Croatia team that has been made to work hard throughout the knockout stages.

“I hope France win it for Paul,”
Nicky told us.
“I think they are probably favourites going into the final because they’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of good players. Croatia have now played three periods of extra-time on the bounce and that can be a disadvantage going into the final.”

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