When he arrived at Juventus, Paul Pogba was essentially the France's version of the International Man of Mystery. There's only so much a few YouTube clips of a guy you can get to get an idea of what a player is like. But then again, those are YouTube clips that are 18-year-olds playing against other 18-year-olds in front of about as many people as there are on the road at four in the morning.
So after the weeks and weeks of "Pogba signed for Juventus" this past summer, I couldn't help but think a very simple question that couldn't be proven until he actually played in an actual, meaningful game: Is Pogba worthy of all the trouble and the hype?
Simple answer to a simple question: Oh hell yeah.
For a player who has been a teenager for almost the entire season, he has been surpassing everybody's expectations with each passing week. Just when you think he can't do something new to show us that he has the potential to be something beyond just a very good player.
He's been put in a situation by Antonio Conte that fits him perfectly. He's not playing 90 minutes every single game, but he's playing just the right amount off the bench where he's able to stay sharp. He's played in 20 of Juve's 28 Serie A games so far this season. He's started 13 of those — much more than somebody who isn't technically a starter would probably have gotten over the course of a season.
He's doing all of this at the age of 19 for the defending Italian champions in both Serie A and the Champions League. And he's doing so in one hell of an impressive manner.
The biggest surprise of all might just be how he's going about it all. If it isn't his poise on the ball, it's his work ethic. If it isn't a slick pass, it's slick turn in the attacking third. If it isn't his strength to fend off a defender it's a run that covers half the field like we saw a number of times last weekend against Catania.
Don't even get me started on the rockets coming off Pogba's right foot. It's like every time Pogba touches the ball within 25 or 30 yards of goal, everybody at Juventus Stadium knows what's coming. Noticed how the whole stadio makes noise in anticipation of what Pogba is about to do? It's almost like a warning call to the opposition of some sorts.
You probably get the point by now.
It's just a young player tapping into his potential and showing what he can be. Other players may show glimpses, Pogba seems to only prove what he'll be down the road almost every game he plays in. Not a lot of players his age, one where many are still struggling to even get a senior team call-up, are close to doing what Pogba is at a club that is still alive in Europe and in first place domestically.
Did I mention Pogba is only 19 years old? Yeah, it makes what he's doing all that more impressive.
And hey, we'll always have those YouTube compilations. But now they'll be of Pogba in a Juventus jersey.