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Paul Pogba Praises Manchester United Academy Ahead of Landmark Everton Clash

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal FC at Old Trafford on September 30, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has described the club's academy as "unbelievable" ahead of their showdown with Everton in the Premier League on Sunday. 

The match against the Toffees will be the club's 4,000th in succession with a homegrown player in the squad. It's a run that dates back to 1937.

Pogba arrived at United's academy as a 16-year-old in 2009 and while he went on to join Juventus, he returned to Old Trafford in 2016, becoming the club's all-time record signing.

Pogba will not be involved in the clash on Sunday due to injury, but a number of other academy graduates will. Speaking to MUTV, the France international reflected on what he considers to be a remarkable achievement:

"It's unbelievable and it shows the identity of this club and the culture of this club. We've always talked about youth players coming into the first team and it's just carried on. 

"It's something that is in this club, it's incredible it's been happening since 1937. You want to carry this on for the young players and the next generation to go and play in the first team."

As Sky Sports Premier League relayed, in the Red Devils squad for a 2-1 win over Manchester City on Saturday there were a number of players who were schooled in the United system:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

Seven graduates were involved in the squad for the Manchester derby as the club started to reflect on a record that stretches back more than 82 years...

In the current side, the biggest name to come out of the club's youth setup is arguably Marcus Rashford, with the forward excelling this season in a role from the left flank. The 22-year-old opened the scoring in the 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium, calmly finishing from the penalty spot.

Per Sky Sports Statto, already the England international has matched his best-ever total of Premier League goals in a campaign:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Marcus Rashford has 10 @premierleague goals this season - already his joint-best career return Man Utd have scored more goals v Everton than any other club ⚽️ @ManUtd v @Everton ⏰ Sunday, 1pm 📺 @SkySportsPL https://t.co/9ppcCVTyZ6

As relayed by ESPN FC, at the same age, Rashford's goal return compares well to that of United icon and current Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Marcus Rashford has more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo after 127 Premier League games at Man United 👀 https://t.co/qLCmqOEWiJ

While the Red Devils have been among the biggest spenders in European football during the Premier League era, it's clear those at the top of the club feel a duty to ensure there's a pathway from the academy into the first team.

During his tenure, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got plenty wrong, but supporters will be encouraged by the opportunities he has given to rising stars and the belief he clearly has in them.

With United playing well, Pogba will be desperate to return from injury as quickly as possible, having not played since September. Solskjaer said on Friday that the France international won't be available for the showdown with Everton, but will be back in training again next week.