What Pogba learned most from Scholes and Pirlo
Paul Pogba has explained what he learned most from working with pass masters Paul Scholes and Andrea Pirlo.
Scholes and Pirlo are two of the most cultured midfielders to have graced the game and Pogba admits he could only watch and learn from the outstanding playmakers.
Pogba replaced Javier Hernandez to make his Premier League debut against Stoke City in 2012, and played those final 17 minutes alongside Scholes. He came on for the homegrown star in his next outing, against West Brom but they were in tandem again in the 5-0 win at Wolves, when the Frenchman entered the fray on 57 minutes.
So their time together was limited (Pogba also replaced Scholes in the legend's testimonial at Old Trafford) but he picked things up in training and by watching the veteran.
Pogba and Pirlo's story is very different as they were team-mates on 93 occasions, winning 63 of those games, as Juventus dominated in Serie A and challenged for the Champions League.
In an excellent episode of UTD Podcast, which is being released on Monday evening, the 27-year-old was asked about playing with the two greats.
“You learn a lot and you look at them,” says Pogba.
“I really learned and have been learning. It was unbelievable for me, seeing them training like that, and it pushed me.
“Okay, I have to work hard and have a lot more to do. Pirlo and Scholes, those are midfielders who control the game, the players to look at, and I learned from them, a lot.”
An ability to control the game is something Pogba has tried to develop, particularly after initially playing further forward as a youngster.
He admits his game has evolved, largely because he was always determined to get on the ball and make things happen.
“I started as a striker and then a no.10 and then a no.6,” he adds.
“Thank God, I didn’t go to centre-back! It was because I wanted to touch the ball too much.
”I was the striker and dropping too much, so one coach told me: ‘Okay, play the no.10 and touch the ball more’. I still loved the ball too much and had too many touches so he put me at no.6.
Listen to the full interview with Paul Pogba in our latest episode of UTD Podcast, with hosts Sam Homewood, Helen Evans and David May - available from Monday evening.