Paul Pogba is happy again on a winning Manchester United team after years of ‘harsh’ criticism and could inspire them to UEFA Europa League glory tonight, said Edgar Davids.
The French midfielder can round off his best season in a United shirt in style when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team faces Villarreal on Wednesday evening in Gdansk.
Pogba, 28, has scored six goals and contributed nine assists in all competitions during a season of undisputed progress for United, developing a good rapport with the likes of Bruno Fernandes.
Paul Pogba has the chance to crown an impressive season for Manchester United when they face Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday evening.
The French midfielder smiled as United flew to Gdansk in Poland for the final
Edgar Davids, speaking on behalf of UEFA Europa League sponsor Enterprise, believes Pogba has never been happier at United and that he can hand them the trophy tonight.
He now has the chance to win the Europa League for the second time in his career, after scoring in United’s 2-0 victory over Ajax in the 2017 final.
Dutch legend Davids, whose great career has taken him to Ajax, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Tottenham, is delighted to see that Pogba finally looks home to Old Trafford.
“The point is with Paul, people are so hard on him,” he said. ‘But he’s one of the greatest talents I’ve seen. What we’ve seen so far is a glimpse.
‘The funny thing is that I met Paul and the man is so humble. You don’t expect that, he’s so humble.
‘He loves United and he will always do his best and that makes me so excited.
‘Sometimes you don’t see him perform, but the problem is that sometimes we want to see a different character. He expresses himself differently, but he gives 110 percent for United every time he steps on the field.
Pogba helped United win the Europa League during his first season with the club in 2016-17
He scored United’s opening goal when they beat Ajax 2-0 in the final in Stockholm
‘The extra quality comes to the fore and even if you have someone like Bruno Fernandes to step on the plate, you see the extra qualities.
“You can’t let him do all of his extra things alone, but he’s one of the best players in the world in his position.”
Pogba was in a purple form and United appeared to be able to take on a Premier League title challenge at the start of the year.
But Pogba sustained a hamstring injury in a 3-3 draw against Everton and United dropped crucial points in his absence to fall behind eventual champions Manchester City.
However, a sometimes difficult season for Pogba can still end on a peak and Davids sees the transformation in his body language.
Pogba sustained a hamstring injury in February that affected United’s title challenge
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Pogba will be crucial as he chases his first trophy as United boss
‘He is happy when he wins. You shouldn’t look happy playing in a top knowing that you have to do better and the team has to do better, ” he said.
‘When things get better, it makes you happier. With him I always have the impression that he likes to do it, he loves to be a winner. He also showed it with France.
‘Now you see that the quality is there and the mentality is positive.’
Wednesday night could be a breakthrough for Solskjaer as he wins the first trophy of his tenure as United manager.
They had reached four semifinals and lost all of them before conquering Roma to reach Gdansk and they will start as favorites against their Spanish opponents.
However, former Ajax, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan midfielder Davids have sounded cautious.
Pogba has built a good rapport with Bruno Fernandes in United’s midfield
Winning the Europa League in 2017 marked a positive first season for Jose Mourinho – but it wasn’t long before things broke up during his tenure at Old Trafford.
‘You have to take into account that Jose Mourinho also won the Europa League with Man United [in 2017]. It’s never reassuring to a coach, ‘he said.
‘You can even win the Champions League and get fired four or five months later.
But it would be a good start, especially if you are at a big club like Man United, where it used to be normal to win trophies.
‘They should no longer compare themselves to that time. Man United is a great club with a great history, but you have to move forward.
“You were lucky to have someone like Sir Alex Ferguson and also the quality of the players he had on that team. It was a different time too.
‘Now you have to look ahead. They have the budget, they have the players to write their own history. ‘
Sportsmail spoke to Edgar Davids through Enterprise Rent-A-Car. For more information about their UEFA Europa League sponsorship, please visit www.enterprise.co.uk/uel
Enterprise is an official partner of the UEFA Europa League – this season’s competition reaches its peak when Manchester United play against Villarreal in Gdansk on Wednesday