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17th Jan 2017

Paul Pogba reveals somewhat surprising players as the biggest influences on his career

Who knew?

Darragh Murphy

Have a quick guess which player Paul Pogba might list as an influence on his career…

Zinedine Zidane, you might say, considering the fact that he’s such a legend of the France jersey and has a similar style of play to the Manchester United midfielder.

Andrea Pirlo too would be a likely candidate given how he played alongside Pogba during his formative years at Juventus.

Or, if you were to go down the route of United greats, one would drop the names of a Roy Keane or a Paul Scholes.

Well, you’d be wrong on all counts.

Pogba has revealed the three men he considers the greatest influences on his young career and they’re not exactly the names that you’d expect.

“You might be surprised… Nicolas Anelka, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Ferguson as well, Conte,” he told the United programme. “Those people have helped me a lot to get where I am now.

“A player I always look up to is Patrice Evra. He’s family, that’s how I see him, and he’s always looked after me, helped me and given me advice.

“He’s someone on the pitch who is very serious and very professional, yet away from the pitch he’s a brother and someone you can have a laugh with – as you’ve seen on our videos on Instagram!

“He’s someone very important for a football team and for a club, and as a person he’s someone who can help you a lot.”

We suppose it’s understandable that Pogba considers Evra and Ferdinand influential forces as both men were so loyal to the United cause when they filled out half of the back four at Old Trafford for so many years.

They would have been ever-present when Pogba made his initial breakthrough as a prodigious midfielder before he was shipped off to Juventus, where he developed into one of the most exciting players in Europe.

What might worry United supporters is Pogba’s fondness for Nicolas Anelka, who remains a rather controversial figure.

Anelka was suspended by the FA for five games following his ill-advised quenelle celebration when he scored for West Brom against West Ham in 2013.

The striker was also sent home from the 2010 World Cup following a run-in with France manager Raymond Domenech at half-time of a game, ultimately bringing his international career to a premature end.

Anelka also garnered a reputation for club-hopping, having lined out for 12 clubs in his career, so United fans will have their fingers crossed that their €100 million signing hasn’t taken too much from the former Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea man.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live: