Jose Mourinho: Manchester United will see the best of Paul Pogba next season
Manchester United fans can expect to see the very best of Paul Pogba next season, Jose Mourinho has told SFR Sport.
Pogba, 23, provided an assist in United's 3-1 Boxing Day defeat of Sunderland, his third of the Premier League campaign, a tally he has matched in top-flight goals this season. His improved statistics suggest the world's most expensive footballer seems to finally be settling into life at Old Trafford after the upheaval of last summer's switch from Juventus.
Mourinho, however, feels 2017-18 will be the season in which Pogba's talent truly flourishes.
"The Premier League is very difficult. You play three, four years in Italy and you come to the Premier League and the world is completely different," Mourinho said. "He's doing well, he's doing more than well. His evolution is clear. So I can imagine that next season for Paul will be top."
Pogba came 14th in the Ballon d'Or vote for 2016, some way behind his France teammate Antoine Griezmann, who finished third, and winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Very few of the players who finished ahead of him are not strikers, and Mourinho believes Pogba will only fulfil the ambition of winning the Ballon d'Or if footballers' contributions to their team are judged differently.
"At the moment, if you're not a goal scorer, you cannot win the Ballon d'Or. But if the perception changes, then Paul can win it, because Paul is not a goal scorer. "
"Paul is a midfielder who will score more and more goals, because I think he has good conditions to score goals. Paul is a midfielder, in my opinion, the best, the best in the world. Obviously, he's young, he can still improve, he wants to improve, which is even better.
"He has an agent who, in my opinion, is great for the player, because he's not the typical agent who puts the player on the moon. He demands a lot from the player. He wants the player to be better and better all the time. So I think he has everything around him to be a great player."
Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman