IGNORE Paul Pogba’s emoji, do not let his bling blind you and instead look at him for what he really is.
That is the view of Owen Hargreaves, who knew the Frenchman from their time together at Manchester United.
Pogba may do dab dances that leave the older generation of fans scratching their heads.
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He may wear diamond ear-rings and 24-carat gold–plated glasses and give the impression he is just another of football’s rich kids.
Yet former England international Hargreaves declared nobody should be fooled by the £89million man.
He said: “It’s a different generation and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody deal with a record price tag the way he is.
“He’s confident and I think maybe his confidence irks people at times.
“I knew him when he was not the famous Paul Pogba.
“He’s super–talented and very confident in himself and I don’t begrudge him that.
“He is in many ways the same kid that I saw back when I was still at United. He’s fun, he likes to have a laugh. You won’t find anybody with a bad word to say about Pogba in terms of talent or personality.
“The problem is this price tag has created a different dimension for people who don’t know him.
“But I think anybody who knows him and has watched him and knows his attributes, you won’t deny the kid.”
Pogba, 24, was at first rejected by United — and that, says Hargreaves, makes his success since even more amazing.
He said: “To go to Juventus, a massive club, and stamp his personality with Andrea Pirlo and the likes and then go to United for a world record fee — that’s him all over.
“You listen to Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon talk about him.
“They’ve seen some players in their time and don’t deny his talent.
“I remember the first time I came across him at United. I was coming back from injury and did a training session with the reserve team.
“I finished and I did an extra bit. Adnan Januzaj and Pogba were doing so as well and I didn’t know who they were.
“Anybody who does extra work, for me they are just fine because that is to their credit. I liked his enthusiasm.
“You might not like the outside stuff off the pitch but that’s not so much him, just the age of him.
“If any of those other guys grew up in this generation — Karl–Heinz Rummenigge or Graeme Souness, any of those — that would be a feature in their lives too.
“They probably won’t like it, but it’s a fact.”
Pogba comes up against Chelsea in today’s Premier League blockbuster.
Hargreaves thinks Blues playmaker Eden Hazard is on his way to another Player of the Year award.
He rates N’Golo Kante as the best holding midfielder in the world and also praised Cesc Fabregas for his brilliant collection of assists.
But Hargreaves also believes Pogba is the complete midfielder.
He added: “Paul is a unique talent.
“You talk about some of the best midfielders in the word like Pirlo, best passers of the ball like Michael Carrick and you talk about Fabregas’ assists, Kante’s interceptions and the intelligence of Hazard.
“I know they probably won’t like it, but it’s a fact.
“All of those players are great at one thing but I think Pogba’s great at everything, someone who can play in at least four positions.
“Most of all he’s a good kid, still the fun–loving kid I knew years ago.
“Rather than knock him down, this kid’s not going to go away.”