Manchester United star Paul Pogba has been branded a “show-off” by Abdoulaye Doucoure, but the Watford midfielder considers that to be a good thing.
A man who tasted World Cup glory with France over the summer has seen his flamboyant personality called into question throughout a career which has carried him to the very top of the game.
It has been suggested that off-field antics have impacted his performances on the pitch, with too much time spent on social media and working on his image .
Doucoure, who emerged through the ranks in French football alongside Pogba, agrees that the 25-year-old likes to life live in the spotlight, but he feels it is those qualities which have helped to make a global icon the player he is today.
The Hornets star, who played alongside Pogba with France up to U21 level, told reporters ahead of a Premier League reunion with the United ace on Saturday: “He was the same [growing up].
“He likes to show off a little bit, but he’s a very nice guy, very natural. Today there’s a different dimension, because he is a superstar, but he was always the same. He likes to laugh, to speak about everything.
“Both [on and off the pitch], he has this personality… he gets this because he is good on the pitch as well. It’s good for him.”
Doucoure added on another larger-than-life personality who is now a domestic rival of Pogba in Manchester at reigning English champions City: “Benjamin Mendy as well brings a lot of personality, show-off sometimes. It’s good in the football.
“Since Under-16, I played with him [Pogba]. And he was, physically, the same like today. He was in advance of everyone. He had his technique.
“He grew up in Italy, I think he did very good things in England. Of course, he is a very important player for Manchester United. We have to be aware of him, he will be very dangerous for us.
“We speak together sometimes... I sent him a message in the World Cup, congratulated him on the title.”
Doucoure hopes he will soon get the chance to join Pogba in a France fold now chasing down UEFA Nations League glory on the back of their World Cup triumph.
The 25-year-old is yet to be capped at senior level, but he has helped Watford to make a flying start to the 2018-19 campaign which has seen them take maximum points from four outings to date.
He added: “Yeah, I think, if Watford was good like we are at the moment, it’s good for me, it’s good for maybe a call-up to the national team.
”Of course, it’s one of my dreams to have a call-up there. I have to be very good on the pitch. Watford have to be at the top as well, to have more visibility for me. Of course, I can have a call-up this year.”