Strength, skill and an eye for a goal, former Manchester United starlet Paul Pogba has blossomed into a modern day Vieira-Zizou hybrid.
France are not the bookies hot favourites to win the World Cup in Brazil, despite their recent 8-0 thumping of Jamaica. The odds place Les Bleus in lowly sixth position behind Belgium, considered the tournament's major dark horse. Having left out Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, head coach Didier Dechamps has severely divided opinion back in France. Now, with Frank Ribery out through injury and the squad including veterans like Patrice Evra, the odds seem justified.
A bright light for the French however and perhaps one of their major hopes for success is Juventus' powerhouse midfielder, Paul Pogba. It's difficult to believe how quickly the young Frenchman has come of age and looked so comfortable in his new talisman role for club and country. Still only aged 21, Pogba oozes maturity and a temperament that belies his age. His abundant talent and skill is only seconded by his immense self belief. Belief which saw him face off with Sir Alex Ferguson two years ago, demanding a move to further his career.
Time has vehemently proven his decision to be the correct one. Here's a player who young professionals can already look up to in laying out clearly defined career goals and a set time frame to achieve them. On New years eve 2011, with a squad plagued with injury, Ferguson chose Rafael over Pogba in central midfield. A decision that led to a humiliating 3:2 home defeat against Blackburn, with Rafael contributing to a late Blackburn winning goal. The lack of confidence shown by Ferguson in his ability didn't dishearten but strengthen Pogba's resolve. He wanted to play, he wanted to improve and he wanted to represent France in the world cup in 2014. His goals weren't to be met at Manchester United, Ferguson bringing Scholes out of retirement proved that. A move to Juventus followed soon afterwards, and the rest his history.
Pogba is currently a league champion with Juventus and will showcase his talents in the Champions league next season unlike his previous employers. Furthermore and perhaps more satisfyingly for him, the dream to represent France at the World cup will be realized shortly. In fact after the tournament, Manchester United will likely require somewhere in the region of £60 million should newly appointed coach Louis Van Gaal decide to retain his services. That move looks unlikely as monetary concerns haven't played a part in Pogba's career decisions thus far, only his hunger for success.
Yaya Toure and Iniesta maybe considered two of the best midfielders currently on the planet, but a new heir apparent has entered the fray. His name is Paul Pogba, and once again only he will command his own destiny.
Pogba's playing style is a delightful combination of Patrick Vieira's athleticism/strength and Zinedine Zidane's finesse/ball control