Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba will reach his prime in the next three years in order to become one of the best players in the world. The 23-year-old joined the Turin club from Manchester United as a free agent in 2012.
Since joining the Serie A outfit, the France international has bagged eight silverware including four league medals. His form has seen him being linked with a move to United and Champions League winners Real Madrid, ESPN FC reports.
"He does not bring all that is expected of him, it's normal for this age. He will be the player we expect at 26 years. I have known no player who carried the France national team at 23 years," The Sun quoted Wenger as saying.
"There he goes through a maturation phase, you begin to question it. It's the mental test in the career of a great player. Either he will lose the will he or will show that he is the player we expected and will improve further. This is the normal phase of a very good player on the way to a great player."
The former Red Devils midfielder's performance in the Euro 2016 opening match against Romania was heavily criticised by the French media. France coach Didier Deschamps dropped Pogba for their second group stage clash against Albania as the host nations went on to win the first two matches, before settling for a goalless draw in the final Group A clash against Switzerland.
After West Ham United midfielder Dimitri Payet scored his second goal of the tournament in France's 2-0 victory over Albania, Pogba was seen celebrating showing a gesture. He rejected reports suggesting the gesture, considered obscene, was pointed towards journalists present at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.
Wenger has jumped to Pogba's defence after suggesting that "too much is expected" of the France midfielder. The Arsenal manager said: "We forget that he is only 23 and at 23 years old it's hard to be the leader of France. Guys like Platini or Zidane were also questioned at that age."
"Pogba is still learning the trade. They say he made a bad move [against Albania], but it is a process by which players pass.
"They start at 20-21 years in the France squad, everyone says: 'you are the most beautiful and the strongest we've ever had'.
"Gradually this creates expectation and at 22-23 years you are told: 'Hey buddy, you are not bringing what was expected of you. So suddenly you find yourself projected onto the top in an extremely brutal manner."