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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Thierry Henry: Paul Pogba was ready to play for Manchester United in 2012

Thierry Henry believes that Paul Pogba was ready for a first-team role at Manchester United in 2012, and says that the interest now shown in the midfielder proves he was right to join Juventus. 

Pogba, 22, left United three years ago at the age of 19 after becoming frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities at Old Trafford, and has since enjoyed success at Juventus.

The France international midfielder has won three consecutive Serie A titles with the Bianconeri, and narrowly missed out on a Treble this season after Juve lost the Champions League final to Barcelona.

Pogba has been linked with a big-money move to the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barca, Paris Saint-Germain, and even a potential return to United, and former Arsenal striker Henry says the player has been vindicated in his decision to depart Old Trafford.

"[Pogba] was ready to play at the time he left Manchester United," he told Goal. "I don't know what happened there, he was ready for me at that time.

"I saw him play in a World Cup with the France youth team and you could see already that he had something different from the other players.

"It didn't work for him at United for various reasons but he showed character, he went to Juve and showed he could play. Now everybody wants him."

Paul Pogba found his opportunities limited while at Old Trafford.

Henry says that the interest of Europe's top clubs means the Bianconeri have a tough task keeping Pogba for next season, and feels that his compatriot's ability is unique at his age.

"He is a special player and that's why every team wants him," the former France international said. "Is he going to stay at Juve? I don't know. But whoever gets him is going to get an amazing player.

"I was a bit upset for him because he couldn't perform the way he wanted to perform at the end of the season because he came back from an injury at the wrong time.

"For people to talk about him the way they talk about him right now, it's because he has something that young players his age don't have right now."

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri thinks that Paul would be making a mistake by leaving Turin this summer, saying last week: "He's young and he needs to stay at Juve to grow further. He's in an environment where it's easy for him to grow.

"He's got many years ahead of him and Juve are on the level of anybody else in Europe and he needs to have the right motivation to play another great season.

"We don't need to sell anybody. It depends on what the player wants, but I've spoken with him and he's happy to stay."

Real Madrid said last month that a report in La Stampa claiming they have made an offer for Pogba was "completely false," while Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito said last week that the Blaugrana would not pay an asking price of €80 million and salary demands of €12 million net per year.

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