With Serie A champions Juventus set to face Singapore Selection at the brand new National Stadium in 4 days, FourFourTwo continues to pick the starting XI we'd like to see take the field from both squads.
But here's the twist. Instead of posting our predicted lineups all at one go, Jeremy Lim and Dominic Neo will reveal one member of the team each day, as we count down the number of sleeps till the big match.
Without further ado, we present FourFourTwo Picks: The Left Central Midfielders.
The hero Juventus deserves
Position: Central Midfielder
Team: Juventus FC
Manchester United fans still regret their club letting Paul Pogba go in 2012. The failure to recognise the potential superstar in Old Trafford’s youth ranks still haunts them. Today, Pogba is instead rewarding Juventus’ faith in him by registering performances right out of the top drawer. Since arriving in Turin on a free transfer, the wonderkid has gone on to become one of the world’s top midfielders.
The midfielder’s athleticism and skill stood him out to the Bianconeri coaching staff, who knew immediately they had a precocious talent on their hands. Entrusting the teenager with several first-team outings — something Pogba has since revealed Manchester United were not prepared to do — he immediately proved himself to be the genuine article.
In his first season, Pogba’s ability to find the net from long range was particularly awe-inspiring. Subsequently, the Parisian went on to consolidate his progress, recording more assists than Andrea Pirlo in his next campaign before going on to represent France at the World Cup in Brazil. Pogba has made little secret of his ultimate goal: “I want to be the best and win the Ballon d’Or”. If he can keep up this current rate of growth, that day may be much closer than expected.
The man Singapore needs
Position: Central Midfielder
Team: Singapore Selection
Club: Johor Darul Takzim
Singapore loves her flair players. The likes of Fandi Ahmad, Dollah Kassim and V Sundramoorthy are skillful attackers who captured the country’s imagination with their guile and gumption. They are Singapore’s footballing icons, the stars of past generations.
Step up, Hariss Harun. He is more likely to put in a crunching tackle than to pirouette past a player, but he is arguably the most gifted and vaunted Singapore footballer of the current generation. National Team head coach Bernd Stange obviously thinks so too: “[Hariss] can play in a top European club now…Bundesliga is an option”. This is high praise, coming from an experienced manager who has coached several European teams. Diego Simone, too, was impressed with Hariss when Atletico Madrid visited Singapore.
A strong, tidy and tactically versatile player, Hariss has been tipped for great things since he burst onto the scene at the tender age of 16. He remains the youngest national team and S-League debutant and his brave and mature performances in the engine room have convinced Stange to appoint him as the vice-captain of the team, in spite of his age. There are high hopes for this young man.
He will come up against the world’s best midfielders in Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal. FFT has a sneaky feeling that Singapore’s best, Hariss Harun, will not be too fazed.
FourFourTwo will be at the Singapore Sports Hub on August 16 to watch the Singapore Selection take on Juventus FC. Will Pogba and Hariss dazzle fans with their footwork? You'll only find out if you join us there! Tickets to the match - priced from S$45 to S$180 for adults and S$30 to S$45 for children – are still available at Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshubtix.sg).
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