France’s Paul Pogba is a better player at his age than Patrick Vieira – that’s according to the legendary Arsenal midfielder himself.
Vieira was full of praise for his fellow countryman ahead of the side’s opening World Cup game against Honduras on Sunday and believes the 21-year-old Juventus star has the potential to become one of the world’s best.
‘I really do love him. He is one of the best young players not just in French football but in world football too,’ Vieira said. ‘He’s a fantastic talent, has a great mind and a good head on his shoulders.
‘He wants to be one the best players in the world and he works hard to be that player. I think at this age he’s better technically than I used to be,’ the former World Cup-winner added.
‘He’s a better finisher too. He’s scored more goals than I used to, although that’s not really difficult! But with the ball, he’s more comfortable than I used to be.
‘I really love him because he’s a good person as well, and that’s why I believe he will be one of the best players in the world in the next few years.’
Having previously been at Manchester United before controversially departing for Juve in July 2012, Pogba has established himself as one of the top youngsters in Europe during his two seasons in Serie A, helping the club to back-to-back titles and even scoring 12 goals from midfield.
A strong, physically-dominating presence in the centre of the pitch, he is set to be one of Didier Deschamps’ key players in Brazil, despite his relative lack of international experience, and has been tipped by many to be one of the breakout stars of the tournament.
France are favourites to advance from Group E, ahead of Switzerland, Ecuador and the Hondurans, and the vibe around the camp has been an extremely positive one going into the tournament, even with the loss of talisman Franck Ribery.
That’s certainly a big difference from their 2010 World Cup campaign, which notoriously ended in turmoil at the group stages, and Les Bleus will be looking to exorcise any of those lingering demons over the coming weeks.