Paper Talk: Pogba hints at move, DCL scores again, and Grealish finally stars for England
Here is football4football's take on some of the biggest stories in the game.
DISCUSSION: Be sure to have your say on social media @ItsYourGame
Pogba flirting with Real Madrid again
RUMOUR MILL: Paul Pogba has long been linked with a big money move away from Manchester United.
Paul Pogba has said he would love to play for Real Madrid one day but his focus is on helping Manchester United improve on their poor start to the Premier League season. The 27-year-old admitted in 2019 that he wanted to leave United but no major offers came in for him and he spent most of last season sidelined with injuries. “Many things have been said,” Pogba told a news conference on Thursday at France’s training camp, the day after their 7-1 friendly win over Ukraine. “Of course, every footballer would love to play for Real Madrid and would dream about that. It’s a dream of mine, so why not one day?"
Every player goes through difficult periods but you have to be strong mentally and we all need to try and get the team back to where it belongs.
The regularity with which Paul Pogba gets linked with Real Madrid or Juventus is very frustrating for Manchester United fans. It's the sort of story that crops up as soon as the team hits a poor run of form. This time however, Pogba has sparked the stories with some misguided comments. Having just been beaten 6-1 by Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, the last thing United need is their most expensive player hinting at moves away. Many Manchester United fans have been very patient with a regularly under-performing Pogba, but comments like this are likely to turn opinion against him.
Verdict: Real Madrid will be back in the market come the summer, and this saga may finally come to an end.
Jack Grealish finally stars for England
GLIDE: Jack Grealish's fluid way of playing in the attacking third adds unpredictably to England.
He had to wait five years, one week and four days to start his first senior international match and he played as though eager to make up for lost time. Grealish was England’s stand-out performer in an otherwise low-key 3-0 international friendly win over Wales at Wembley - and by some distance. It was not just his assist for England’s opening goal on the night, a cross exquisitely arced around the body of his marker Ethan Ampadu and then perfectly dropped into the centre of the six-yard box for debutant Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score. It was the way he loitered with intent out of possession and then cut through the opposition with it, raising his opponents’ blood pressure, drawing his usual fouls.
Grealish flitted about the Wembley pitch, switching positions, turning up in pockets of space on either flank.
Jack Grealish was 20 when he decided to pledge his allegiance to England instead of the Republic of Ireland. Despite always being a talent, it's taken five years for Grealish to make his first senior international start. The Aston Villa man was heavily linked with a move away from the club during the summer but that didn't materialise. They've strengthened the squad, and Grealish now seems to be hitting new heights. Whilst he has made a breakthrough for England, the attacking talent in the squad means it's going to take some incredible form to get a regular starting spot.
Verdict: There are a number of attackers of great quality in the squad, but there's no harm in Grealish creating further competition for places ahead of next year's EURO's.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin off the mark
BLISTERING: Dominic Calvert-Lewin has now scored 10 goals in seven games for club and country this season.
Calvert-Lewin was the Premier League's striker in form with nine goals for Everton - so it was no surprise this was an England debut bursting with confidence. The 23-year-old has matured rapidly and all that development was on show as he delivered further illustration that he has what it takes to become the complete striker. Calvert-Lewin's attitude and work-rate have never been in question but his goals output has. Now, with Everton top of the Premier League under manager Carlo Ancelotti, he cannot stop scoring. Here, he was the beneficiary of brilliant work by Grealish, whose cross from the right was the sort any striker dreams of, Calvert-Lewin soaring to power in the header. He was taken off just before the hour but his power in the air, close control, hold-up play, and strong running made this an impressive bow.
Every hurdle he has encountered, he has jumped over with ease.
There's now an inevitability about Dominic Calvert Lewin scoring every time he plays. He's been the key man in Everton's blistering start to the season, and he had no trouble continuing that form for England. It's not just the amount of goals he scores, it's the type of goal too. He is always in the right place at the right time, and can finish with conviction with both his head and feet. As is always the way, people will immediately begin to hint at a big transfer. It's no secret that Manchester City will be in the market for a reliable centre forward to replace Sergio Aguero in Summer 2021.
Verdict: DCL will not be a cheap buy if he continues this form, but if Everton fail to achieve European football a move away is very possible.
What do you think of Pogba's latest comments? Will Jack Grealish become a regular starter for England? Will Calvert-Lewin keep this form going? Let us know on social media @ItsYourGame.