Paul Pogba is one of the tallest players at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship and, after his move to Manchester United FC last autumn, has one of the highest profiles, but the France midfielder delivered with his winner against Portugal and is loving his time with the squad.
France coach Guy Ferrier opted to start without Pogba in the opening 2-1 loss to Spain, feeling he was not right "physically or mentally". But the No6 was given the nod three days later and his deflected strike ensured a 1-0 defeat of Portugal, putting France second in Group A ahead of Monday's decisive encounter with Switzerland.
"We are very happy with the victory, but this is only one step," Pogba told UEFA.com. "We still have one more game and we have to work to prepare for it, but we are very happy to win."
Although Pogba says "we never relax" such is the France squad's hard-working ethos, the team's bond as a unit ensures it is a happy camp. "It's always very good to get back with the French national team," Pogba said. "To see all the players, I enjoy it, especially when we win.
We always speak together, joking, kidding, maybe seven in one room speaking and playing. It is a very good group, we are very happy in the team."
Over the course of the interview, Pogba shows off his improving English, and since arriving at United in October has learned a lot – not just linguistically. "It's a real experience," he said. "I didn't know the language, it's not the same style of game – more physical. But in France when I come back with my experience I can maybe add to the team. Like Yaya Sanogo, he's played in the [AJ Auxerre] first team, he can add to the team. And the keeper Alphonse Aréola [who trains with Paris Saint-Germain FC's senior squad], he can help the team. That's very good for the team to have good experience."
Giving Pogba the benefits of their experience are the United first team. "Sometimes I can see them, speak to them, joke, play table tennis," Pogba said. "I am very close to them. Gabriel Obertan, because he's French, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand, I can speak with him. He says good luck, just work hard – you have to to be a good player."
Pogba added: "Sometimes they come and watch the games and try to help me. That's good, as they have a lot of experience. I listen to them and try to learn quickly." However, there are still some home comforts in northern England. "I live with my mum so it's OK – she's cooks for me!"
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