Paul Pogba has told French television that he decided to leave Old Trafford after being overlooked for a match against Blackburn Rovers.
In the aftermath of Adnan Januzaj’s performance against Sunderland, comparisons have been made between his situation and that of former United midfielder Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman left at the end of his contract, refusing an extension at Old Trafford in favour of a move to Juventus, where he has since shone. And with talks over Januzaj’s contract ongoing, more than a few people have questioned whether the Belgian winger could ultimately follow Pogba out the door.
United manager David Moyes appears confident Januzaj will sign a new deal, and that talk of interest from other clubs by his agent will soon be forgotten. But while the Belgian has been given the chance to shine at United, Pogba has gone on record to reveal that it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s refusal to do just that that made up his mind.
Speaking to French television show Telefoot, Pogba cited a 3-2 defeat against Blackburn Rovers as the day he realised he would continue his footballing education elsewhere.
In quotes published by Goal, Pogba said, “I said to Ferguson, ‘Play me, and I will show you if I am ready or not. Against Blackburn, on December 31, 2011, I was on the bench. Ferguson puts Rafael in midfield with Ji-Sung Park. Then I gave up.”
Pogba has since shown what he can do if given the chance. And the fact that United lost that match would have not gone down well with a player who knew how good he was, before he had the chance to show the world.
The debate continues over his agent’s influence in the deal that took him to Italy, but there is no doubt Pogba was just as ready for the United first team as Januzaj is now. And their fans can only imagine what would have happened if both were now turning out at the Theatre of Dreams.
Below are Ferguson's thoughts on the match that, unbeknown to him, decided Pogba’s fate:
image: © Romana Correale