The World Cup is the holy grail for all footballers and one Manchester United who can claim to have lifted it is Paul Pobga.
And his manager, Jose Mourinho, is hoping the Frenchman can build on his superb displays in Russia to unlock further levels for United in the coming seasons.
“To win the World Cup can only be a positive thing,” Mourinho stated at his press conference at the UCLA campus.
United are on a pre-season tour of the United States and will play their first match of the summer on Friday (0730 IST) when they take on CF America.
“So many players never had the chance to be a world champion, because their country was not strong enough or because they couldn’t help that team enough to make it happen. For Paul, to be world champion can only be fantastic.”
United broke the world record in 2016 to sign Pogba for a fee of £86 million, but the midfielder has struggled to justify the club’s outlay since then.
On his day, he can lay claim to being the best midfielder on the planet, but those performances have been far too sporadic for Mourinho’s liking and he even took the bold step of benching his star player last season.
“I hope that he understands why he was so good. In the second part of the competition – quarter-finals, semi-finals, final – he was, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant,” the Portuguese tactician gushed as he continued, “I think that’s the point about his performance level and his contribution to a winning team – it’s for him to understand why he was so good.”
The rumour mills went into overdrive after the flashy midfielder was forced to watch some games from the dugout, but both player and manager insisted there was no problem and normal order was restored towards the end of the 2017/18 season.
“I did with him (Pogba) what I did with all my players. I sent a nice message before the World Cup and during it, I did not disturb anyone. They needed to focus on the job for their national team,” Mourinho responded when asked if he kept in touch with his players during the quadrennial showpiece.
“After the World Cup, I sent a different message than to the other guys, because he won the competition.”
Speaking about the fact that Didier Deschamps’ side were among the youngest at the World Cup, Mourinho stated: “It’s a young team. Apart from (Olivier) Giroud, (Hugo) Lloris and maybe one or two others that I don’t have in mind, they are all young.”
“They have more Euros to play together; they have more World Cups to play together. So I think the future for him, together with that fantastic group of players in the national team can only be brilliant.”
United fans are hoping that the 25-year-old’s World Cup win adds some maturity to his game as the club begins its assault on the Premier League title.
However, they will have to wait what Pogba has learnt from winning the Coupe du Monde for Mourinho confirmed that all of his players that made deep runs at the World Cup will miss the entire pre-season.
United open the 2017/18 Premier League season when they host Leicester City on August 10 and will have to make do without the services of Pogba against the Foxes.