Manchester United is in the midst of another youth revolution, with five young players playing key roles in their bright start to the 2011-12 season. It will keep midfielder Paul Pogba — next in line on the conveyor belt — close by for at least the next year, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in the Daily Mirror.
“It’s more difficult to loan a boy of 18 who’s come from France,” the veteran manager said. “We prefer to keep him with us until we find he’s mature enough to possibly go on loan.
“Maybe next year that could be an option, but we’re definitely expecting him this season to stay with Manchester United.”
Pogba’s move from French club Le Havre to the reigning English Premier League champions in July of 2009 sparked a bitter war of words between the two clubs. He developed in the French club’s youth academy and showed enough ability to represent France at the U-17 level.
Le Havre accused the Red Devils of illegally poaching the young starlet after he had previously agreed to stay with the club. President Jean-Pierre Louvel even accused United of offering Pogba’s parents £87,198 ($137,000) to induce the move. United threatened legal action over the accusations. When Le Havre asked FIFA to investigate, the governing body found no wrongdoing and sanctioned the move in October of that year.
Pogba has appeared for Manchester United youth and reserve teams primarily as a holding midfielder. He led the side to the 2011 FA Youth Cup championship and has graduated to the club’s reserve team, while practicing with the first team this season.
Midfielder and England international Michael Carrick is an admirer of Pogba’s ability.
“Paul is a huge talent,” the veteran told the Daily Mirror. “He has trained with us a number of times, so we have seen quite a lot of him and he looks very promising.
“If he goes about things in the right way and gets a little bit of luck at the right time, he is going to have a bright future.”
Ferguson’s comments show some of the risks involved in recruiting foreign players to join English academies. Pogba is two years into his English soccer career and should have the professional habits and proper mentality to develop and succeed during a loan spell at another club.
He is either so talented that Ferguson expects him to play regular first-team minutes at Manchester United, or he has shown bouts of immaturity (possibly due to problems adjusting to the country and culture) that Ferguson wants to keep a watchful eye on him. Pogba will debut for Manchester United in Tuesday’s Carling Cup game against Leeds United.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of Flickr/manudot
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