Paul Scholes’ latest column is an absolute belter.
In it, Scholes discusses, at great length, whether he feels coming out of retirement was detrimental to Paul Pogba‘s Manchester United career and if it contributed to his departure.
It’s an honest and informative account of how Scholes saw Pogba as a youngster and offers great insight into what went on behind the scenes at the time when he was breaking through into the first-team.
One particular anecdote stood out where Scholes discussed training with Pogba and helping him develop as a player.
Scholes wrote: “At first sight, Pogba was notable for his size and physicality, and when you got to know him there was also a confidence about him. When he was eventually sent over to train with the first team he was unafraid. Not just in the way that he played but that he had the confidence to come up to senior players and seek out advice. He was dedicated that way. He was absolutely desperate to make it is as a footballer, and he grabbed every chance he had to learn.
“He was a very good footballer: technically excellent, and he knew how to strike a ball. He spoke to me about improving his range of passing. So, after training we would spend time pinging the ball to each other from 50 yards’ distance. He had stronger suits to his game than his long passing – his power, his technique at close quarters, his athleticism – but he was determined to get better at what he thought was the weaker part of his game.”
It’s painful enough to read, let alone imagining Scholes and Pogba pinging passes to each other at Carrington like two happy schoolboys. Master and apprentice, outgoing and incoming.
Just like after Roy Keane left the club, Man United have so far failed to replace Scholes but in Pogba, United had a youngster who was ready and able to become one of the best midfielders of his generation under the watchful eye of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Alas, it didn’t work out that way and instead Juventus are enjoying the spoils of Pogba’s talent. All United fans can do is watch from afar and wonder…what if?