Paul Pogba learnt many important lessons off Warren Joyce in his formative years at Manchester United but the Wigan Athletic manager hopes the France star has stopped listening to him ahead Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford.
Joyce was United’s reserve-team manager for eight years before leaving to take charge of Wigan last November, meaning he oversaw Pogba in his first spell with the club before the midfielder departed to Juventus.
At a news conference to preview the Championship side’s crack at a glamour tie in the fourth round, Joyce could not resist taking a swipe at the 23-year-old’s extravagant haircuts and social media emoji – but he quickly had second thoughts.
There was also an element of sage advice to Joyce’s words when he compared Pogba at this stage of his career to some all-time United greats.
Asked whether the world’s most expensive player could become its best, he said: “That depends on him, really.
“It depends whether he keeps having them stupid haircuts, and is involved in too many gimmicks off the field.
“I don’t know… That’s up to him what he does – and that’s me being critical of him. But you can’t remember Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs doing very much of that.”
As a capacity to self-edit struck a fraction late, Joyce added: “I suppose I’ve just done their team-talk for them now! Can you leave that one out and do us a favour?”
Nevertheless, Joyce was still happy to lavish considerable praise upon Pogba’s drive and determination to reach the top of the game.
“He always had that goal [of being the best],” he said.
“Whether he was regarded as it or not, he wanted to be the best player in the world.
“He said it openly, and set his standards to try and do that. He’s always had that inner drive and belief to want to do that.”
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