CAPE TOWN – Few would’ve guessed it – Paul Pogba, Manchester United captain.
When the Red Devils announced their starting XI on social media before the Premier League opener against Leicester on Friday, the ‘C’ in brackets was next to the Frenchman’s name.
But seeing is believing, and the roar at Old Trafford when Pogba walked out in front and wore the armband made it real – he was the skipper!
And that was a masterstroke move by manager Jose Mourinho – or wait, perhaps it came from the “higher-ups”?
Who cares, it was done, and Pogba showed his appreciation by stepping up and taking the early penalty to put his team into the lead, despite the protestations of Alexis Sanchez.
That is what a leader is all about, and that is who Paul Pogba is – an inspirational figure adored by French and Manchester United fans alike.
Those driving runs so prevalent in France’s World Cup triumph were present against Leicester too until he ran out of steam, understandably so, as Mourinho said previously that Pogba had only just returned to training after his post-World Cup holiday.
So, where does it leave the 25-year-old midfielder with regards to a rumoured move to Barcelona? Should he stay at Old Trafford, or go to the Camp Nou?
Well, he flexed his muscles by saying after the Leicester game that there are things he cannot say, otherwise he would be fined in what was probably a jibe at Mourinho.
But the manager must’ve endeared himself to his star player by calling him a “monster” in the Leicester game due to his “fantastic” performance.
Reports out of the UK state that Mourinho is considering making Pogba the permanent United captain. Not only would that smooth over the apparent unhappiness between the two, but it would make absolute footballing sense, as there are few stand-out leaders in the current set-up.
And that is what should sway Pogba’s mind. He is the big fish in the big United pond. If he goes to Barca, he would still be in the shadow of new captain Lionel Messi, despite being a World Cup winner.
And it can’t be for the money, as Pogba’s commercial value on his own is gigantic already, and massively important to United vice-chairman Ed Woodward as well.
Don’t forget that Pogba came through the United academy. He is a United man through and through, and returned to his “home” club after joining Juventus in the early part of his pro career.
Home should be where it’s at for Paul Labile Pogba. Imagine what joy he would feel to drive Manchester United to a Champions League triumph…