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Exclusive - Rio Ferdinand gives his verdict on United new boy Pogba

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Ferdinand backing Man Utd to be champions this season
Ferdinand backing Man Utd to be champions this season

Manchester United have been waiting a decade to find a midfield talisman to replace Roy Keane – and Rio Ferdinand insists their new €100m man Paul Pogba WILL NOT fill that void.

While Ferdinand believes United have made the right move by sanctioning a world record transfer fee to bring Pogba back to Manchester four years after he left to join Juventus for nothing, he has told the Sunday World that Pogba will never fill the boots of Old Trafford icon Keane.

The BT Sport pundit insists the 23-year-old Frenchman should not be compared to fiery Irishman Keane, as he claims Pogba is a player who will need to be handled with care by United boss Jose Mourinho.

“Pogba is not the new Keano, far from it, and I have played with both so I say this from first-hand experience,” begins six-time Premier League winner Ferdinand.

“Pogba is a very different kind of personality when you compare him to Roy, but we can all see the talent he has got and that is why United are trying to get him back now.

“Roy was a driving force for our team, he was in your face and he demanded high standards of everyone around him.

“That is what made him such a great winner and a true champion for United.

“There will never be another Roy Keane. He was a one-off for a variety of reasons.

“Pogba is not like that. I was at United when Pogba was there first time around and he is a kid who will need to be handled correctly.

“He is a bit of an extrovert off the field and doesn’t always do things in a conventional fashion, but there is nothing wrong with that if he is producing the goods on the pitch.

“It doesn’t matter what anyone says about the fee that Juventus are getting for Paul Pogba because that is the going rate and the money Man Utd bring in from a variety of sources means they can justify this kind of transfer, so I say go with it and get Pogba in whatever it costs.

“You are investing in massive potential here. This guy could be the best midfielder in world football for the next ten years and if he spends those years at United, then it would be a good investment.”

Ferdinand admits United are eating humble pie as they re-sign a player they allowed to leave for nothing for £100m, but he claims the deal does make financial sense.

“He wants to be the best player in the world and there is no better place for him to get to that level than at Man Utd.”

Ferdinand has backed a Mourinho-inspired United to win the Premier League this season, as he believes Pogba could be on of the final pieces in their jigsaw.

“I think Utd will win the title this season, that’s the kind of effect Jose can have,” says Ferdinand.

“This guy is a proven winner, which what Manchester United should be all about.

“The club has lost some of their identify over the last three years because this football club should not be aiming for top four finishes in the Premier League. Under Mourinho, it won’t happen any more.

“He has said in the media that he wants to win the title this season and the players have been told about those expectations as well

“When you are Man Utd manager, there is no time to hang around and wait for a rebuilding process. It’s about winning trophies and Mourinho gets it."

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