Paul Scholes has stated that his decision to come out of retirement may have contributed to Paul Pogba leaving Manchester United in 2012.
Pogba joined United as a 16-year-old from Le Havre in 2009, but joined Juventus for a nominal amount when his contract expired in 2012, having made just seven appearances at the Old Trafford side.
The Frenchman has since gone on to establish himself as one of the biggest talents in world football, winning 22 senior international caps and two Serie A titles – with a third all but secured.
And Scholes – who initially retired at the end of the 2010/11 season, but reversed his decision halfway through the following campaign – admitted that United would rather have kept a player that he described as ‘one of the hottest properties in European football’.
“There is no question that, given the choice, and on the right terms, United would rather have kept him than not,” Scholes wrote in his blog for The Independent.
“He was a very good footballer: technically excellent, and he knew how to strike a ball. He was absolutely desperate to make it is as a footballer, and he grabbed every chance he had to learn.
“When I look back on my return from retirement for Manchester United in the spring of 2012 I sometimes wonder whether coming back into the team contributed to blocking the development of young players who were hoping to break through.”
However, Scholes does not think that United should try to lure the impressive youngster back to the club – stating that the move ‘would not feel right’ – despite him being linked with a return, as well as to a move to rivals Manchester City.
The United legend – who is currently working as a pundit for BT Sport – also defended the clubs treatment of Pogba, and stated his concern for young players trying to break into first-team football.
“There was no better manager at developing young players than Sir Alex [Ferguson],” Scholes wrote.
“The timing was wrong and the difference between expectation on the player’s side, and the manager’s idea of his development did not match up.
“But at the very least Pogba got a chance at United. He had seven sub appearances for United, about what his performances at the time for the Under-21s merited.
“For those young lads who find themselves consistently blocked by a steady flow of more experienced players coming in ahead of them, the first team must seem a very distant place indeed.”
Despite Scholes’ statements, many United fans would love to see Pogba back in the red half of Manchester, but a reputed £70m price-tag will be something that current manager Louis van Gaal will have to match before any proposed transfer could take place.
Main image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.