Paul Pogba has lauded new Manchester United team-mate Harry Maguire, branding him a “leader” after just one appearance for the club and revealing that he now calls him “The Beast”.
The Red Devils moved late in the summer transfer window to bring England international centre-half Maguire onto their books.
A record-breaking £80 million ($96m) deal was required to secure his signature, with the 26-year-old now the most expensive defender in world football.
His hefty price tag has placed added pressure on the former Leicester star, but his debut showing in a 4-0 victory over Chelsea suggests that United have found value for money.
Pogba considers that to be the case, telling French reporters after a positive opening to the 2019-20 campaign for the Red Devils and their big-money addition: “I call him ‘The Beast’.
“Honestly, as you saw, he was really impressive. He is a leader. He fit right in with us in training.
“We talked about controlling the defence well and he has a good understanding with Victor [Lindelof]. It was a very good match to start with from the whole team.
“In the first half, we were dominated in terms of chances and possession, but we reacted in the second.
“Our changes enabled us to take over. We were better in possession and in terms of chances.
“We were lucky to have the lead through the penalty in the first half, but after a bad start, we finished the match well. We are satisfied with our performance.”
Marcus Rashford fired United in front against Chelsea when converting a penalty that he won following a foul by Kurt Zouma.
He grabbed a second of the game in the second half, shortly after Anthony Martial had put the Red Devils in complete control, with substitute Daniel James wrapping up the scoring.
Pogba played his part in a convincing win, with one defence-splitting pass allowing Rashford to find the target, and he has seen signs of encouragement from a new system introduced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The World Cup winner said of new-look United and the role he is being asked to play: “That [position change] has been there for a while now – since before this season.
“In terms of organisation, it is a bit more like how I play with the French national team.
“It does not bother me where I play, whether it is higher or lower, we adapt and enjoy. The team too, we were much better coming out of the back and that is something to keep going with in the coming games.
“Rashy and I understand each other well. We try to do a maximum number of passes like that. I am starting to understand his calls for the ball too and that enables me to find him like I did.”
United will be back in action on Monday August 19 when they take in a trip to Wolves.