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Nov 13, 2012

Pogba humbled by France call-up talk

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is surprised he has been tipped to earn a call-up to the France squad, despite his encouraging performances for the Serie A leaders this season.

• Prandelli: It's not just a friendly

Pogba, 19, will captain France's Under-21 side in their friendly against Ukraine on Tuesday but could then find himself travelling back to Italy to be part of the Didier Deschamps' senior squad as they take on the Azzurri in Parma.

Along with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, Pogba is held in high regard by Deschamps, who views the pair as a potential backbone of the France side in the future.

But the former Manchester United teenager, who left Old Trafford in search of more regular first-team football in Turin, recognises he is far from the finished article.

''He said I had to go through steps - I'm in a big club and I will continue to improve," Pogba told L'Equipe. "I don't think about that [being called up by France], I was surprised to be suggested as a candidate.

"I didn't think it would arrive so soon. It gives me the motivation to continue to work. That's a great challenge."

Juve coach Antonio Conte is also impressed by his midfielder, who claimed on Monday that he has the qualities to ''become one of the best if he doesn't lose his focus".

Pogba turns out for France Under-21s on Tuesday in the team's first game since the quintet of Yann M'Vila, Antoine Griezmann, Chris Mavinga, Wissam Ben Yedder and M'Baye Niang were controversially handed lengthy bans by the French Football Federation for going out partying during a training camp ahead of last month's Euro 2013 qualifying play-off defeat to Serbia.

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