Former Manchester United reserve boss Warren Joyce has warned Paul Pogba not to be distracted by things off the pitch in his bid to become the best in the world.
The Frenchman returned to Old Trafford in a big-money move from Juventus last summer, with Joyce having first-hand experience of coaching him during his first spell with United.
Joyce returns to his former club with Wigan in the FA Cup this weekend, and although he’ll be plotting a way to limit Pogba’s influence, he has also shared a few words of wisdom with him.
While the 23-year-old has had a mixed start to life back in England, his hairstyles, social media antics and more have arguably dominated headlines more so than his efforts on the pitch.
That is not a healthy balance in Joyce’s opinion, and he has warned the French international to get his priorities right if he wishes to become one of the best players in the world.
“That depends on him, really,” he is quoted as saying by The Mirror.
“It depends whether he keeps having them stupid haircuts, and is involved in too many gimmicks off the field!
“I don’t know… That’s up to him what he does – and that’s me being critical of him. But you can’t remember Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs doing very much of that.”
There are few better placed than the 52-year-old coach to assess young players, as he has overseen the development of countless starlets in the making.
While there are numerous success stories with players still at Old Trafford and others who have moved on and done well elsewhere, there are also those who haven’t quite lived up to expectations.
Joyce has revealed what it takes for those players to make the grade, and he hopes that Pogba doesn’t follow a similar path to the ones who haven’t been smart.
“The frustrating thing is seeing ones like Januzaj, Wilson or Federico Macheda get up to that level and stop doing the work they did to get them to that level,” he said. “Not play the games, not train as hard, sit in jacuzzis and not do the same weights and sessions they did to get there. Those are the frustrating ones for me, because that could be avoided.
“You’re in football for sport, to be competitive and try to do your best and challenge yourself, so those things are on the periphery. You either want to be in a boyband in a pop star environment, or a footballer.”
It remains to be seen if Pogba will ever be able to justify his price-tag, but ultimately Joyce has made some excellent points and they should be heeded by his former charge.