It isn’t the same thing. When Paul Pogba is not there, it is never the same. Everyone in the camp in France will tell you that.
The Manchester United midfielder is back this month, after 16 months away from the French national team because of his long injury, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and because he contracted COVID-19 himself in September; and, boy, you can see the difference, hear the difference, and feel the difference. It had been too long, and a reconciliation was really needed for both Pogba and France.
La Pioche—”The pickaxe, “as Pogba is known after Juventus fans gave him the nickname — is certainly the boss of the squad in France. He is the master, the joker, the guide, but also a captain as well as a soldier who leads by example. There is a hole when he is not there that no one can really fill. When he’s there, as he has been for the past ten days,
For France, Pogba is a breath of fresh air; and the flip side is also very real, as when things are not nice with his club, France has always been a breath of fresh air for Pogba.
At the heart of his Jose Mourinho problems, it was a huge boost to return home in March 2018 for the games against Colombia and Russia. After seeing his mates again, Pogba returned to England after a long talk with Didier Deschamps with a more optimistic attitude and the goal to finish the season on a high — which he did. He won his place in the U.S. starting XI, played well, and then played a major role in that summer’s Les Bleus World Cup triumph in Russia.
This time, United and the critics around his level are starting the season poorly, especially in the humiliating 6-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur that he wanted to put behind him.
So he got his room back in Clairefontaine; it was borrowed by Eduardo Camavinga in September, but the boss got it back. It’s the biggest room, and it’s full of people every night, listening to music, playing video games, and talking about anything and everything.
Pogba also resumed his spot in the dressing room next to … From Antoine Griezmann.
The couple picked up their bromance where they had left it 16 months earlier. It’s so unreal that they spent so much time together. On Tuesday, Pogba flew on a plane to Croatia next to Kurt Zouma — so they could play Ludo — but the rest of the time he was with Grizou.