Paul Pogba's World Cup win has silenced critics - France teammate Benjamin Mendy
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy has praised the influence of Paul Pogba during France's World Cup success and said people need to start talking about his football rather than his haircuts.
Mendy and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will be rivals when the Premier League kicks off in two weeks, but the France internationals have been good friends since they were young.
Mendy said Pogba showed the dressing room leadership which could make Jose Mourinho's side a major threat to City's title defence.
"If you're Paul Pogba and do some haircuts or something else then everybody speaks, speaks, speaks. But he plays so well, now has won the World Cup, so there is not much you can say really," Mendy told reporters.
"He was at Juventus with [Claudio] Marchisio and [Andrea] Pirlo and you take everything from a situation like that. Now he's in Manchester he takes more. He's a leader."
Before making his £49.3 million move from Monaco to City last summer, Mendy spoke to Pogba about life in England and the Premier League.
And he said the French players based in the city -- including City teammate Aymeric Laporte -- meet up regularly despite their on-pitch rivalry.
"We are really close friends," he said. "We were together in the same place in Le Havre. Now we meet in the same city but [Pogba] plays for United.
"Playing with him in the national team is a dream. Sometimes we spoke about this when we were younger, about 13, and now we are in the France team. It's amazing and he's a good guy.
"Before every game he was the one using his mouth to speak, giving big, big words to the team. You see him: he's very hungry. It's perfect for the team.
"We spoke about Manchester, England and the Premier League. Us French guys meet up in Manchester. And I have one friend with me too at City [Laporte]."