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Paul Pogba remains a “complete player” and a “leader-type” figure at Manchester United regardless of what his detractors may think, says Jesse Lingard.
The France international midfielder was expected to become a talismanic presence at Old Trafford when completing a record-breaking £89 million ($113m) transfer in the summer of 2016.
While becoming a World Cup winner with his country since linking back up with the Red Devils, Pogba has struggled to prove his worth at club level.
That has led to endless discussion regarding his form and future, with transfer talk never far away from the 27-year-old – as he sees moves to Real Madrid and Juve mooted.
Those around him at the Theatre of Dreams have, however, continued to talk up his value on a regular basis.
Lingard progressed through United’s academy system alongside Pogba, with both going on to become senior stars in their own right.
The England international believes an enigmatic performer remains among the best available to current Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with there few holes to pick in his game.
Lingard told Sky Sports: “I grew up with Paul and when he first came you could see the technical ability that he possessed at such a young age.
“He's gone on to win the World Cup and many trophies with Juventus and us.
“He's the all-round player, the complete player. He's always positive and has a good energy off the field. He's humble and one of the best guys you could meet.
“He's always positive in the dressing room and picks the lads up when they're down. That shows on the field as well.
“It's hard for the lads to get the ball off him because he's so strong. He's become the leader-type and has taken on that responsibility really well.”
Pogba has seen injury restrict him to just eight appearances in the 2019-20 campaign, but he has had a coronavirus-enforced break to work on his fitness and should be raring to go when Premier League action resumes.
He will also be given the chance to work alongside January signing Bruno Fernandes for the first time, with United holding high hopes for that partnership as they seek to force their way into the top four and back onto a Champions League stage.