Varane hails 'complete' Pogba after France's win over Germany

By Sports Desk June 16, 2021

Raphael Varane lauded Paul Pogba after the midfielder starred for France in their Euro 2020 opener against Germany.

Didier Deschamps' world champions started their Group F campaign with a 1-0 win in Munich on Tuesday – Mats Hummels' own goal the difference.

France also had two goals disallowed for offside, with Germany never truly clicking into gear as Joachim Low's decision to recall some veteran campaigners did not go according to script.

Instrumental in the win was Pogba, whose exceptional pass to Lucas Hernandez ultimately resulted in the unfortunate Hummels, who looked ponderous and out of place in Germany's back three, turning into his own net.

Playing on the right of a midfield three alongside Adrien Rabiot and N'Golo Kante, Pogba attempted more passes (52) than any of his team-mates, with 40 of them (76.9 per cent) finding a blue shirt.

His 78 touches topped the charts for France, while no other player on the pitch drew more fouls (four), made more interceptions (three) or gained possession on more occasions (12) than the Manchester United man.

"He started very early with France, he plays with a lot of maturity, he has so many qualities," Varane said of Pogba.

"The difficulty for him is to choose when to use his force. He is a complete player. He has found a balance in his game, he has been performing for many years, he brings a lot to the group in relation to his character. He is at a very good level."

Asked if Pogba could be a choice to captain Les Bleus, Varane added: "The captain's armband for Pogba in the future? He's maturing. He has this strength of character, he knows how to convey that to the group, he is respected and on top of that he sets the mood!

"He's a leader, he could easily wear the French team's armband."

 

Varane partnered Samuel Umtiti during France's successful run at the 2018 World Cup, but played alongside the sometimes erratic Presnel Kimpembe at the heart of Les Bleus' defence on Tuesday.

They combined for 12 clearances – Varane's tally of nine a game-high – and looked solid against a Germany attack featuring Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and the returning Thomas Muller.

"It's a collective performance. When [Kylian] Mbappe loses a ball and recovers it five seconds later, that gives us strength," Varane said, referencing the high press France deployed at the Allianz Arena.

"Kimpembe and I have complementary qualities, we talk a lot. It's not a question of motivation in this kind of match. We motivate each other.

"We also spoke a lot with our midfield to defend well and succeed in countering opposing attacks. We had to be very focused."

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