If you’re reading this and your name is Graeme Souness then it’s probably best to stop here.
This is not going to be an article knocking Paul Pogba for his choice of haircut. There’s going to be no mention of his work-rate or relationship with Jose Mourinho.
Instead, I’m going to try and convince you that Pogba is right on course to reach a similar peak to the one Frank Lampard- all 177 Premier League goals of him- scaled. Here goes.
On 11 June 2001 a 23-year-old midfielder joined a club who’d just finished sixth in the Premier League, qualifying for the UEFA Cup in the process.
Fifteen years later another 23-year-old midfielder was on the move to a club who’d qualified for Europe’s secondary cup competition, although by 2016 the UEFA Cup had evolved into the Europa League.
Lampard cost Chelsea £11million, having spent six years at West Ham via a brief loan spell at Swansea, while Pogba was departing Juventus for a world-record fee, after initially left United on a free transfer in 2012.
On the international front, Lampard had two caps for England to his name, while Pogba was well on his way to clocking up 50 appearances for France and had turned out at a World Cup.
So, just as a scene setter, at 23 Pogba was well ahead of Lampard. Now, let’s get to the present day Pogba.
Pogba currently has 13 Premier League goals to his name.
We’ll ignore his first two seasons at United, in which he only played three times, and do the same for Lampard’s first campaign with West Ham as he only played twice.
Pogba’s been scoring at an average of 6.5 goals a season across his last six full campaigns, four of which were in Serie A.
By way of contrast, Lampard’s first six full campaigns of first-team football averaged out at 5.5 goals a season.
What about Lampard’s first two seasons at Chelsea? Lamps only missed one game in the league, scoring 11 goals.
Injury forced Pogba to miss 19 games during his first two campaigns back at Old Trafford, but he also managed to net 11 times.
But it’s what happened next that sets Lampard apart from every midfielder to have had the pleasure of hearing Paul Merson get their name wrong on Soccer Saturday during the Premier League era.
Lampard hit double figures in every league campaign between 2003 and 2013. That’s ten glorious seasons of late runs into the box followed by a placed finish past Brad Friedel/Shay Given/Mark Schwarzer.
It was only in Lampard’s final season at Chelsea, by which point he’d become a bit-part player, that his run of double figures was ended.
During the 2009/10 season Lampard scored 22 goals in 38 games, more than Fernando Torres, Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor.
He had the protection of John Obi Mikel, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien, just as Pogba is guarded by Fred and Nemanja Matic.
So Pogba’s got a lot of work to do if he wants to keep pace with Lampard.
Reaching double figures for the first time in his career should be the minimum Pogba is looking to achieve this season.
The 25-year-old has started well, scoring twice in his six Premier League appearances this season and four times in all competitions.
But what does the future hold beyond this campaign? If I knew that I’d be sitting on a beach in Bognor Regis.
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