Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has now won two international tournaments with France with dressing room access from both finals showing his leadership abilities
France lifted the Nations League trophy after defeating Spain in Sunday’s final with half-time footage from Les Bleus’ dressing room highlighting the key role of Paul Pogba.
The Manchester United midfielder gave an inspirational speech to his French teammates during the break, with the score-line finely poised after a goalless first half.
As the players went in to recuperate during the break, France boss Didier Deschamps gave a short address to his squad before Pogba took the initiative and spoke up to rally his teammates.
The 28-year-old gave an inspiring speech that not only encouraged the players but also outlined how France tactically needed to improve with a need to be more ‘aggressive’.
Le film de la finale de l’UEFA Nations League, Equipe de France I FFF 2021)
Footage from the France Football Federation showed the scenes from inside the world champions’ dressing room during half-time at Milan.
Deschamps began the break by stressing to his players: “We must be calm.
“We can hurt them, we will hurt them but not like that. We win the ball back and whoever gets the ball has to find the right pass to get out of our half and then go forward.
“It means looking better and finding more space.
“It’s a fight, it’s hard but we don’t give up. Come on, 45 minutes to go, we have to make a big effort to hurt them more.”
It was then United star Pogba who spoke up and issued a rallying cry, with an emotional speech that will no doubt have led to excitement from fans of his club.
UEFA via Getty Images)
Pogba’s speech showed that he was capable of being a leader and bringing both positivity but also clarity to his teammates.
The midfield maestro said: “You have to be aggressive, starting from the front and then all the way through the pitch.
“We have to win the ball and attack.
“Yes, we are going to run, they are good quality players but so are we.
“As soon as we have the ball, we will hurt them.
“When we go out in this second half, we have to be aggressive and we have to do real pressing.”
This will no doubt have revived memories of the pre-match footage from France’s dressing room ahead of the World Cup final three years ago, when Pogba also spoke up.
Unlike at international level, access to Manchester United’s dressing room has much greater limitations, but Pogba using both finals for France as an opportunity to step up hints at his role inside the Old Trafford squad.
Minutes ahead of the 2018 final against Croatia, Pogba told his teammates: “Boys, I don’t want to talk too much, we all know where we are, we all know what we want, we know how far we have come.
Michael Regan – FIFA)
“We know it in our hearts, in our eyes. I can see it boys, we are concentrated. We cannot forget. Maybe I am repeating myself.
“We are 90 minutes away from possibly making history. 90 minutes. One match.
“I don’t know how many matches we have played in our careers but this is one match that changes everything. That changes all of history.
“There are two teams, there is one trophy. For them it is the same, they want it. We know we lost a final (Euro 2016). We know it. We feel it in our hearts. It’s still in our heads. Today we are not going to let another team take what is ours.
“Tonight I want us to be in the memory of all the French people who are watching us. Their children, their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children. I want us to go onto the pitch as warriors, as leaders.”
Pogba is an inspirational leader at international level for France, with whom he was won the World Cup and Nations League, though replicating that success at club level has been a tougher ask.
Now into the final year of his contract at United, Pogba’s leadership and popularity within dressing rooms is clear – and are traits his club can ill-afford to lose.