When Paul Pogba joined Juventus in the summer many saw it as a signing for the future, but the young French midfielder is wasting little time proving his worth with the Old Lady.
After coming off the bench to score a great volley in a recent victory over SSC Napoli, the 19-year-old headed the stoppage-time winner in last night's 2-1 home success against Bologna FC. The goal, which capped his third full league appearance for the Bianconeri and sixth in total, kept Juventus four points clear of FC Internazionale Milano at the Serie A summit, four days before they host the Nerazzurri.
"We won and we are happy," said the powerful and creative Pogba, who arrived at Juve from Manchester United FC on a free transfer. "I will start thinking about the Inter game later. For now I'm just happy with the goal and the victory. I have always scored goals, I have always liked to get in the box and try to score. It is the best thing in football."
Many observers considered him a future replacement for Andrea Pirlo, yet Pogba has shown he is ready to play alongside the Juventus schemer – as witnessed against struggling Bologna when the Bianconeri were shorn of injured Claudio Marchisio and suspended Arturo Vidal. Subsequently voted man of the match, he was dominant in midfield and also hit the post with a wonderful shot before notching the winner. It has not taken long for Pogba to become comfortable in his new surroundings.
"I failed to reach an agreement on a new contract with United and I decided to join Juve because they really wanted me," said Pogba, who spent three years in Manchester – and made three substitute outings in the Premier League – after leaving Le Havre AC. "Other clubs were interested but I had only Juve on my mind after deciding to leave United and now I'm really happy here."
Even so, there is room for improvement, as Angelo Alessio explained. "He started brightly, playing really well in the first 20 minutes," said the coach, deputising for the suspended Antonio Conte on Juventus's bench. "Then he tried to do more difficult things and did not play as well. Knowing Conte, I'm sure he did not like that change in style from the first period."
French Under-19 international Pogba, who still sports four yellow lines in the mohawk haircut he favoured to prevent the citizens of Manchester mistaking him with Mario Balotelli, is fully aware he has to keep working hard. "By playing more games I'm sure I can improve. I need more experience at this level." If he continues playing like he did against Bologna, there is little doubt more games and goals will follow.
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