Scholes: Pogba has Ronaldo's arrogance; don't play him as a holding midfielder
Paul Scholes says new Manchester United signing Paul Pogba has the same “arrogance” on a football pitch as a young Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 23-year-old left United on a free transfer in 2012 and spent four years at Juventus, but returned to Old Trafford in a world record £85 million deal earlier this month.
Pogba is expected to make his second debut for the club against Southampton on Friday night having missed the 3-1 win over Bournemouth on the opening day of the Premier League season through suspension.
“There are real similarities between him and Ronaldo,” the former United midfielder told FFT.com. “They’re very different people and players, but they both have the same confidence and arrogance on the pitch.
“They both train incredibly hard. Pogba and Ronaldo are great athletes - they’re both great in the gym – and they train for as long as they can on the training field. Hopefully Pogba will reach the level Ronaldo has done.”
United boss Jose Mourinho must decide which role his new signing will play in his midfield, but Scholes says it would be a mistake to restrict him to the holding position he operated in for France for much of Euro 2016.
“He played in a midfield three at Juventus, which seemed to suit him down to the ground,” added Scholes. “He had the license to get in the box and score goals. For France he seemed to play as a holding midfielder and I didn’t think he was as effective there.
“I’d play him alongside a more defensive minded player – Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin or Daley Blind. You have to let him get forward and use his power and pace to get in the final third.”
Scholes had previously backed United’s decision to allow Pogba to leave the club four years ago, but insists he is delighted to see him return.
“When Pogba first trained with the first team we knew he was a talent and we knew he was going to be a top player, but I think he’s become a more complete player over the last few years.
“He’s a really good lad and he was a great personality in the dressing room, even at a young age. He gets on well with everyone and he’s a fantastic trainer.”
Class of 92: out of our League – Our journey back to the heart of the game
By Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes
Published by BBC Books on 8th Sept £20 hbk