(Courtesy of ESPN)
While age is certainly an area in question along the defensive line for the French, the national team has, in Varane and Paul Pogba, two of the most promising young players in all of world football, and the two should keep France in the mix for years to come. Pogba, only 23 and of Guinean descent, is already quite experienced. He has already been capped 29 times by the French, scoring 5 goals from the midfield in the process.
In one of the most infamous moves of his tenure, Sir Alex Ferguson famously released Pogba from his contract at Manchester United for not being good enough for the side. Pogba was quickly picked up by Juventus in 2012, where he has since appeared over 100 times, already netting 28 times. He is already quite championed, given his young age. He was awarded the Golden Boy award in 2013 as best U-21 player in the world, and the Bravo Award in 2014 for best U-23 player in Europe (ESPN). That January, The Guardian rated him as one of the 10 best young players in Europe. This January, he was selected for the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year as well as the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI (ESPN).
Pogba’s superstar status is attributed to his many elite characteristics. Tall, strong and powerful, but with great technical skills, as can be seen in the first video below, Pogba combines his obvious physical talent with a phenomenal tactical understanding and a brilliant workrate, which has caused many comparisons to fellow, and coincidentally black, Frenchman Patrick Vieira. Pogba’s style can be considered box-to-box, as he is willing to put in a challenge in defense before quickly breaking forward. With incredible feet, as demonstrated in the second video below, Pogba does it all for both club and country, proven by his critical role in leading Juventus to the Champions League final in 2015.
Pogba’s emphatic free kick oozes class of the highest caliber (YouTube)
Pogba shows that, despite his large, powerful frame, he has feet as good as anyone (YouTube)
How to cite this article: “Projected France Starting XI at Euro 2016” Written by Jeremy Roth and David Talpalar (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/identity-and-the-french-national-team/notable-players-in-the-projected-french-squad-with-african-heritage/paul-pogba/ (accessed on (date)).