Seven things we learned from Pogba's UTD Podcast
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba had plenty to say on our latest UTD Podcast as he set the record straight on a variety of topics with refreshing honesty.
With the full episode now available on Deezer and other podcast providers, we've selected seven of the most interesting points of discussion - but the list could have been endless from this fascinating and wide-ranging interview!
We discovered which clubs Paul supported in his youth, the players he admired, the team he nearly joined before United, his house-mate during the early days in Manchester, almost getting into fight with Ravel Morrison and his view of the critics.
Furthermore, our no.6 also confirmed what prompted him to pursue a move to Juventus in 2012...
EARLY ARSENAL AFFECTION
Paul said he initially liked Arsene Wenger's Gunners as a child because they had so many of his fellow countrymen on their books. However, he decided to switch to United because one of his brothers supported the Reds.
"I will be honest," he admitted. "So, at the start, I was an Arsenal fan – obviously because of all the French players, you know. Me and my brother were but my other brother was a Manchester United fan. I couldn’t say anything so I used to love [Thierry] Henry and, because of him, I was an Arsenal fan. Then I changed and went on to choose with my other brother. No Arsenal, I went with the other one, the United fan!"
So, which footballers did the young Paul have posters of on his bedroom wall? He reeled off six names, with barely a hesitation, and they all had attacking flair!
"I had Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, [Zinedine] Zidane, Thierry Henry, Djibril Cisse, Kaka," he replied.
LYON MOVE WAS ON THE CARDS
Many people felt Pogba should have remained in France when deciding to leave Le Havre, and Lyon were closest to snaring the young prodigy. However, when asked how difficult a decision it was to move to England, he answered: "Easy. It’s Manchester United. To be honest, I was about to sign at Lyon so they wanted me to sign professional but, because I say it, people used to talk to me and say: 'Don’t go. Don’t go outside. It’s going to be difficult. Stay in France'. I said: 'No, they’re the biggest club in the world. This comes only once in our life'. I took it. Well, it came twice for me, yes that’s true!"
WHO WAS POGBA'S HOUSE-MATE IN DIGS?
Davide Petrucci lived with Paul in their early days in Manchester, after he arrived from Roma. The midfielder, who signed for Ascoli last year, became Reserves captain with the Reds but did not break into the first team."I was in digs for the first time and the family were very nice. I am still in contact today with them. They’ve been taking care of me. I was with Davide Petrucci, I was just with Davide and am still in contact with him. Obviously, we grew up together and he is kind of my step-brother, I would say. It was very good. The family were very good with me, with us, and we enjoyed it. We had a really nice family and, obviously an Italian person and a French person, and I couldn’t speak very good English, any English. I started learning and they helped me learn faster. I had to speak English. I started with the hand signals first and then it came very fast."
RUMPUS WITH RAVEL
Another of the gifted FA Youth Cup-winning team from 2011 was Ravel Morrison, who is now with Sheffield United, the club Paul McGuinness's side beat in the final. Pogba had this to say about the midfielder:"I have a nice story with Rav. A few weeks after I arrived, and now we’re very good friends, but I will just tell you we almost fought – me and him. So was I training and obviously everyone knows how good Rav is with the ball. He was dribbling [past] players. I took the ball from him and he got angry a bit and kicked me. I couldn’t speak English so I looked at him and [thought] 'that’s okay, I’ll wait until you get the ball [laughs]. I smashed him'. He started talking to me in English and I responded in French. You know, okay we will see after in the changing room. Okay, no problem. I’m not scared of you. After, he came to me and hugged, you know, and, since then, we’re very close. It’s a strange story and funny but that happens a lot in football and now we’re very good friends."
UTD Podcast: Why Pogba left United in 2012
The subject of leaving United for Juventus - and returning - provides a fascinating section of our UTD Podcast...
WHY I LEFT UNITED
The World Cup winner confirmed he decided his future lay elsewhere when he was left on the bench for the Premier League defeat to Blackburn in 2011. "It was a very difficult decision for me, with the manager as well and everything with the contract," he revealed. "It wasn’t the contract but more like the trust with the manager. Obviously, the manager, for me, is still the best manager in history. When they asked me to sign the contract, if I didn’t sign, a lot of things happened. I didn’t train, I went back to training by myself and stuff like this.
“It made me a bit angry and was nothing about the money. It’s just about you’re a player, we believe in you, you believe in you and, me, I just want to play football. That is all I want. I want to play. When I had, like I’ve said before, the chance to play or to come on in this game against Blackburn, that’s when really I had heartbreak. There was no midfield here – people were injured, [Paul] Scholes wasn’t there, I think he’d retired already and it was before he came back. Rafael played in midfield with Ji-sung Park and I didn’t come on in this game. We lost the game. I was on the bench warming up and I thought I would come on and it was a big opportunity for me. I didn’t and things happen. The manager has a choice in everything but that day is when I had my heart broken. I told Pat [Evra] that was the chance, I’d been training with him and he’d been talking to me and saying I would have a chance. But that happened, I didn’t play and I was kind of upset.
“So I went to Juventus, which was a hard decision for me. Hard because it was going to another club as well where I was obviously not as one of the starting XI but I’ve got to come as a young player. A young, talented player and you have to show yourself again. I went and it was a big challenge for me. I said: 'Go for it, no problem. I want to show I am ready to play for the team'."
UTD Podcast: What Pogba thinks of pundits
In our unmissable UTD Podcast, Paul explains how he handles the constant media discussion that surrounds his career...
THE CRITICS DON'T AFFECT ME
Pogba has no time for pundits who have singled him out for criticism, admitting he does not need to listen to TV analysis of the live matches. "If they want to speak, they’re allowed to speak," he said. "That’s their job. For me, it’s their job to speak. They’ve been talking and I’m used to it now. I’m really used to it so it doesn’t bother me. Obviously, it is always good to hear the good stuff and better to hear that than the bad stuff. Like I said, when you play football, you hear stuff but you know yourself, you know your manager and know your team-mates and know what you want. The rest is just talk and selling stuff. I think people like it.
“I’m someone who watches football and stuff but I don’t stay and listen to what they’re going to say after the game and why they have done this. I like to focus on football."
Listen to Paul's UTD Podcast, plus every other episode to date, on Deezer.
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