Paul Scholes used to kick Paul Pogba around the training field to toughen him up when he broke into the first-team squad at Old Trafford, Nemanja Vidic has revealed.
Pogba was brought in to train with the first-team squad when he was 17 graduated from the academy before leaving for Juventus in 2012 on a free transfer, due to a lack of opportunities.
He returned last summer for a world-record £89m but would have found the training ground at Carrington a much friendlier place to how he left it, with Scholes now retired.
But the treatment from Scholes wasn’t just towards an up-and-coming midfielder trying to take his place in the team, but for every new arrival, including Vidic, to show them they were expected to train with the same intensity as they played with.
“Paul was only 17 and already as physically strong as he is now, with a very good physique,” Vidic told ESPN. “Paul Scholes would kick him and test him, just as he did when I arrived.
“Scholes was showing the will to win, showing that we were not friends kicking the ball about, but that we trained tough and strong, as if we were in matches. It was: ‘You kick me and I kick you’. We fought every day and didn't need to switch on for a game because we were always switched on.
“United had a lot of players like that, who were so competitive. That meant we were better prepared, even more than some of the best teams, who had great players but not the same drive to win.
“We'd go to games in Europe, or to Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool and not fear anybody.”