The Valencia midfielder is confident his former France teammate will bounce back to top form when his ongoing injury lay-off ends
Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has no doubts that Paul Pogba will be back to his best when he returns to action for Manchester United, and is confident that his former teammate will even surprise one or two supporters when his injury problems are fully behind him.
Pogba hasn’t featured for United since Boxing Day, and amidst ongoing speculation about his future, he appears unlikely to take to the pitch before next month following January’s ankle surgery.
While Pogba has managed just eight Premier League appearances all term, his former teammate Kondogbia has backed the 26-year-old to hit top form again when he is cleared to return.
“I’m not worried about Paul,” Kondogbia assured Goal. “He’s shown, previously, that he’s a great footballer who knows how to do great things.
“We know football; once you’re not on the pitch as much, or if you’re injured, or if your routine drops, then people can automatically start to forget you.
“Football has always been the same, but knowing him very well on football terms, and on a human level, he’s someone who will always excel.
“He’ll always surprise spectators because he has this strength of character, and this mental force,” Kondogbia continued. “He’s got everything going for him.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on Monday, looking to cut the six-point gap that separates them from the Blues, who currently occupy the final Champions League berth.
Last month, images emerged of Pogba wearing one of Kondogbia’s Valencia shirts as he took his first steps on the road to recovery following ankle surgery, and the duo have been close since starring together for France’s youth teams.
Together, they won the 2013 U-20 World Cup together for France, with both finding the net en route to the final in Istanbul seven years ago.
“I have great memories of this World Cup,” the former Internazionale powerhouse continued. “I remember that we were a great group of friends who’d known each other since we were 13 or 14, having played against each other in youth football.
“I was at Lens, Paul was at Le Havre, [Jean-Christophe] Bahebeck was at Paris Saint-Germain, and [Ivory Coast international] Axel Ngando was at Rennes,” he concluded. “So it was like a reunion.
“It went well because, above all, we were friends who were passionate about football. We just wanted to have fun like kids who want to play in the playground or outside his house after school.