So here it is; the definitive list of players who are going to light up the World Cup this year. It’s a eclectic mix of veteran strikers, rising stars and relative unknowns but they are all sure to have an impact on their nation’s hopes of lifting the coveted trophy. Especially Shola.
Position: Central midfield
A product of Manchester United’s youth system, little was made of Paul Pogba’s move to Italian giants Juventus back in 2012. At the time Pogba had only made 3 senior appearances but he was still highly rated by the club and was touted to be a future first team regular. A grievance with the club’s management, in particular Sir Alex Ferguson, appeared to be the young Frenchman’s motivation to move on and seek regular first team football, especially as he was getting to an age where he could begin to think about playing for his national side at a senior level.
It didn’t take long for Pogba to settle in Turin and he quickly gained a reputation as a hard working but also technically gifted midfielder. His range of passing and ball control rivaled that of his team mates and Antonio Conte’s policy of squad rotation allowed him to flourish alongside, and sometimes start ahead of, players such as Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio. His penchant for spectacular long range goals also made him the star of many a Youtube compilation.
By the end of the 2012/13 season Pogba had racked up 27 appearances; scoring 5 goals in the process and establishing himself as one the brightest prospects in French and, some might argue, world football. During the summer, despite having already made appearances at senior level for France, he captained the Under-20 side to victory in the World Cup in Turkey; winning the player of the tournament award in the process.
The 2013/14 season has been more of the same for Pogba and at the end of 2013 his achievements were recognised by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, who gave him the Golden Boy award for the best under-21 player in Europe. Previous winners include Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Aguero and Mario Gotze.
He has already beaten his goal tally for last season and has all but cemented his place in the bianconeri first team. At the time of writing, he has made 7 appearances for France since the start of 2013, scoring his first goal in a World Cup qualifier against Belarus. As with almost every player that features on this list, the World Cup in Brazil is possibly the biggest stage for Pogba to showcase his talents and with rumours of bids from his old club it could prove to be the tournament that truly sparks off his career. Continue reading