Paul Pogba has revealed the moment he knew he had to leave Manchester United was when Rafael and Ji-Sung Park were selected ahead of him.
The 20-year-old was regarded as one of the best young talents at Old Trafford, but despite a lack of obvious options, he was often overlooked for a place in the starting eleven by Sir Alex Ferguson. Indeed, having joined the Reds in the summer of 2009, he made just three Premier League appearances in three years, and all from the substitute bench.
Pogba has now revealed the final straw came on 31 December during his final year at the club, when he was once more ignored for a starting position. Instead, Ferguson opted to play fullback Rafael and winger Park in the 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers, and he then made his mind to quit the club when his contract expired that summer.
“I said to Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘Play me, and I will show you if I’m ready or not’,” the former Le Havre youngster said in an interview with French TV station TF1. “Against Blackburn Rovers, on December 31, 2011, I was on the bench. Ferguson puts Rafael da Silva in central midfield with Ji-Sung Park. Then I gave up. I was really bummed.”
A number of clubs, believed to have included Arsenal and Manchester City, were keen on Pogba, but he instead decided to leave England and sign for Juventus. Many doubted that he would get regular first team action for the Italian champions, but he has excelled in Serie A, making 27 appearances last season and featuring in every game so far this term, whilst he has also earned his first three full international caps for France this calendar year.