12th August, 2018
Paul Pogba is one of those footballers who says it as it is. That is exactly what happened a few hours back when he declared that with or without the Captain’s Armband, he remains a leader on the pitch of play for Manchester United thereby suggesting that he played well at the first match of the season not because of the fact that he was the team captain for the day.
He got the captain’s armband in the absence of Antonio Valencia in that match which ended in a 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Friday and put in a very commanding performance, which included a goal from the penalty spot.
Some rumours had it that his present not so cordial relationship with Jose Mourinho is to some extent connected with the fact that he was overlooked as the permanent successor to Michael Carrick as club captain, with Valencia instead getting the nod from manager.
It is also to be recalled that when asked about the relationship of his performance on Friday with the fact that he was the captain for the game, he replied that he would be fined if he said what he wanted to after the Leicester match. The following is what he preferred to say:
“When I was first at United, Rio Ferdinand was captain and Patrice Evra, too,” he said. “Then I went to Juventus and Giorgio Chiellini was a captain, [Gianluigi] Buffon was a captain.
“When I was younger, Michael Carrick was sometimes a captain as well. I learned from all of them, but I don’t think, being in leadership, there is a book how to become one.
“It’s not a role that I give to myself. I just try to help the team as much as possible, like they helped me, too.”
Paul Pogba however went on to say that it was surely a “dream” to captain United at Old Trafford, nine years on from first joining the club’s youth system from Le Havre.
According to him:
“I always love this club. I love the club,” said the 25-year-old. “I came in the academy, I grew up, I played for the first team. For me, it was a dream come true.
“And wearing this armband, it’s even more [special] because of the past, because of the players that played here, the people that have been wearing this.
“It’s obviously an honour for me. When I have this, I have the confidence of the fans.
“They’re all here, they help me, my team-mates, obviously it makes me want to give them love and give them good performance”