Teammate Emerson Hyndman said Pogba’s confidence with the ball stands out during training sessions.
“He brings that kind of calmness to the game,” Hyndman said. “When he’s on the ball, he’s quite composed, looks for passes forward between the lines, things like that. “
Pogba said that comes from advice his father gave him when he was growing up.
“I’ve always been like that, since I was a little kid,” Pogba said. “I think it’s because I like soccer so much. Soccer is my life. My whole life I’ve trained very hard to be ready physically, emotionally, tactically, just doing everything I could to improve as a player. My dad told me I had to be the best at every position. It doesn’t matter if you are playing forward, midfielder, holding midfielder, outside back, I wanted to be the best.”
Pogba’s words aren’t empty of meaning. While not playing with Atlanta United earlier this season, he wanted minutes so he asked to play with Atlanta United 2 at Indianapolis. Pogba’s brothers, Paul, who plays for Manchester United, and Mathias, who plays for a third division team in Spain, were in town. Instead of hanging out with them, Pogba chose the game minutes.
“He’s a professional and you are seeing that now, the effects he’s given the first team,” Atlanta United 2 manager Stephen Glass said.
Pogba said he won’t know for a couple of days if he will start. He said playing two times for Guinea during the international break helped him with his rhythm and confidence when he came in for Hyndman against New England. He said he has a good relationship on the field with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who would likely start in the middle of a three-man backline, or as one of the centerbacks in a four-man backline.
The 6-foot-4 Pogba could prove invaluable because Philadelphia tortured New York Red Bulls with set-pieces in their first-round matchup. Pogba would easily be the tallest field player for Atlanta United, almost equal to Philadelphia centerback Jack Elliott, who is 6-foot-5.
“He’s obviously a big guy,” Hyndman said. “He puts his body out there. We have no worries about him. I’m sure he’ll do great.”