Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba says he harbours no ambition to be captain of France and thinks he can be an influence for club and country regardless of whether he wears the armband or not.
Jose Mourinho last month stripped Pogba of the United vice-captaincy amid reports of frosty relations between the two during the Red Devils’ difficult start to the 2018-19 season.
Having left Manchester to join the France squad for Les Bleus’ forthcoming friendly against Iceland and Nations League encounter with Germany, the 25-year-old refuted an interest in being the national team’s skipper.
“I have never played for France to be captain. Being here is already something big for me,” Pogba told L’Equipe
“You do not have to be a captain to speak. A leader is not someone who has the armband on.
“As a leader you can talk on the pitch, but I have seen leaders who do not necessarily speak.
“For example, [Pogba’s former Juventus team-mate Andrea] Pirlo is a leader, but he will not speak a lot in the dressing room. He will be there on the pitch and show you the way. He is a true leader.
“The armband has never been a goal.”
Pogba received criticism for publicly calling for United to play more attacking football, although France coach Didier Deschamps claimed the midfielder’s falling out with Mourinho had been “exaggerated”.
While he would not be drawn on his relationship with the United boss, Pogba revealed Deschamps gave him advice on how to handle the intense media attention he faces.
“He [Deschamps] gave me good advice not to block this relationship that you have with journalists, the world, the fans,” he said.
“Because otherwise you can have this image, ‘Ah, he does not want to talk because he’s upset,’ when you are not at all.
“The coach spoke to me, he helped me with that. And now I think I’m a little more open, I express myself a little more.
“I’ve never been upset with journalists, it’s just that I did not want to talk. I said to myself that it is useless to speak.”