Paul Pogba took just 15 minutes to showcase his star quality at Juventus, says Claudio Marchisio, with the Bianconeri legend also billing Aaron Ramsey as the perfect man to inherit his No.8 shirt.
The Turin native spent the vast majority of a distinguished playing career on the books at Juve, with Marchisio stepping out of a famed academy system to become a modern day legend.
He took in 389 appearances for the Italian giants, collecting an enviable haul of major honours along the way.
Among those he played alongside when chasing down trophies is World Cup winner Pogba, with the current Manchester United midfielder having spent four years with Juve between 2012 and 2016.
The Frenchman has been finding the going tough in England of late, but he achieved superstar status in Italy after proving his worth at a young age in a star-studded squad.
Marchisio told the Daily Mail of Pogba: “I'll tell you an anecdote about Paul. One of the very first training sessions with us he was at a very young age.
“Andrea Pirlo and I took only 15 minutes to understand how strong Pogba was, and we also knew that he would soon take someone's place in the team.
“Fortunately the coach found a system that allowed us to all play together. What a beautiful midfield, even with Arturo [Vidal]!”
The midfield baton at Juve has seen been passed into new hands, with Wales international Ramsey forming part of Maurizio Sarri’s class of 2019-20.
The former Arsenal star has taken a jersey once occupied by Marchisio, but is expected to fill those big boots.
“In the best hands. Ramsey is a fantastic player,” Marchisio said of a suitable successor.
“The No. 8 is such a beautiful number that it had to end up on someone's back. My preferences were two, Ramsey or an academy player who moved up to the first team.”
While Ramsey has traded life in the Premier League for that in Serie A, Marchisio says he was never close to heading in the opposite direction.
Speculation often linked him with moves to England, but no deal was discussed.
“It cannot be said that I was close to any English team, but there was interest from the Manchester teams and Chelsea,” he said.
“But Juventus has always been my priority, so real negotiations were never started.”
Marchisio may not have wanted to join the Premier League ranks, but he was an admirer of star turns in that division – with two all-action midfielders at Liverpool and Chelsea catching his eye.
He said: “When the coach moved my position from second striker to midfielder in the Juventus youth, I began to observe the great midfielders of the football scene. Even just to try to steal secrets and understand the malice needed for the role.
“Without a doubt my favourites remain [Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard. They were both very strong and both undisputed symbols of their own clubs.
“I admired both their charisma, the mastery of the game, the leadership, the courage and their attachment to the shirt.”