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1:00 AM UTC Feb 23, 2017
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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Trending: Lallana signs contract extension


Pogba: France call just the start

Juventus starlet Paul Pogba believes "the hardest part is to come" after being called up by France for the first time as he sets his sights on becoming one of the game's greats.

• Blog: The beauty of Paul Pogba

Pogba, who turned 20 on Friday, was named by national team coach Didier Deschamps in the French squad to face Georgia in a week's time and reigning world and European champions Spain four days later in a potentially decisive Group I double-header.

Despite having also quickly made a name for himself in Serie A following his summer move from Manchester United, the former Le Havre youngster told RMC radio he still has plenty of ambitions to fulfil.

"When I was at Le Havre, and was picked to play for the under-16 national team for the first time, my objective was to get into the senior side," he said. "Now that I've been called up, I'm happy.

"It's an honour to be able to wear the senior team shirt. It's the first step. The hardest part is to come. I have to continue working hard. I still haven't made it. I have to knuckle down to improve and - one day - be at the top of the game."

Pogba's decision to leave Old Trafford, where he featured in just three Premier League games last season, was motivated by a desire for more playing time to hone the talent a host of major European clubs coveted. That has certainly been the case in Italy where Bianconeri coach Antonio Conte has already given him 13 starts in the top flight.

However, former France international goalkeeper Gregory Coupet told RMC Pogba, who joined Sir Alex Ferguson's squad in 2009, had not wasted his time in Manchester.

"He's progressing nicely," he said. "He came from Manchester United. Even if it was only in training, he has already been up against top players who play at a very high level and have ambitions of being champions. That really shapes your attitude.

"Didier Deschamps has called him up to get him used to international football. It augurs well for him."


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