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Paul Pogba has always been a show-off and it is great for football says Man United star's Watford pal Abdoulaye Doucoure

Abdoulaye Doucoure has branded Paul Pogba a “show-off” — but reckons his old friend’s brashness is good for the game.

Watford’s midfield heartbeat goes head-to-head with World Cup 2018 winner Pogba on Saturday, when Manchester United visit his played-four, won-four Hornets.

Doucoure, who played with Pogba as a teenager in French age-group teams as far back as 2009, admits his former team-mate has acquired a ­“superstar” dimension since becoming the world’s most expensive player at £89million in 2016 and scoring in France’s final triumph in Russia this summer.

Hopefully helping France win the World Cup will bring the lad out of his shell (!) (Image: AFP/Getty)

Pogba stares at Mourinho as he’s subbed off during their pre-internationals win at Burnley (Image: Getty)
Last season, United legend Paul Scholes warned Pogba was falling into the trap of thinking his price-tag gave him a licence to “show off his talent” instead of becoming a world-class box-to-box midfielder.

And Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho claimed the World Cup was a “perfect habitat” for Pogba to unfurl his best form – which he has only produced intermittently for his club.

But Doucoure, a £6m snip with his own ambitions of a call-up to the ­France squad, says Pogba’s ­outgoing personality is “natural ­exuberance” which brightens the game.

He said: “I’ve known Paul since I played with him in the French ­Under-16 team and he was, physically, the same as he is today, because he was in advance of everyone.


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“Yes, he liked to show off a little bit, but he’s a very nice guy, very natural.

“Today there is a ­different ­dimension ­because Paul is a ­superstar, but as a ­character he has ­always been the same – he likes to laugh, he likes to speak about ­everything. We still speak sometimes, and I sent him a message to ­congratulate him on ­winning the World Cup.

Asked to clarify his “show-off” ­comment, and whether he was ­referring to Pogba’s manner on or off the pitch, Doucoure replied: “Both – but I think he has this personality because he is good on the pitch.

“It’s good for him. It’s good to have ­footballers with charisma – I think players like Paul, and Benjamin Mendy as well, bring a lot of ­personality and show off sometimes.”

Win this to make it five in a row and those Leicester comparisons will grow for Doucoure and co (Image: EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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Watford’s record, maximum-points start has left ludicrous ­optimists speculating they could repeat ­Leicester’s feat of winning the title in 2016.

One cornerstone of their 100% record has been timekeeping, with skipper Troy Deeney revealing this week players are docked £100 for every minute they are late to ­training.

Boss Javi Gracia’s rule has been worth ­thousands of pounds to the Hornets’ fines kitty, and Doucoure ­admitted: “I am not always on time. If I am late, I pay like everyone else.

“But we are in the best condition because everyone had a good pre-season, everyone came back with a good mentality, nobody complained about anything. Everyone wants to finish in the top 10, I think that is realistic.”

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