AARON BARRY lined out against a Manchester United youth team as a teenager which contained France’s star midfielder, Paul Pogba as the ‘Red Devils’ defeated Sheffield United to clinch the FA Youth Cup in 2011.
After holding the promising United team, which also featured Jesse Lingard, Tyler Blackett and Ravel Morrison, to a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane, the young Blades lost 4-1 at Old Trafford in front of a packed house which included Sir Alex Ferguson.
As Pogba moves closer to completing an astonishing E100 million return to United five years later, Barry recalls the time he rubbed shoulders with one of the world’s best players.
And having realised the Frenchman’s undoubted class at the time, Barry insists he was ‘shocked’ when United allowed him to leave for free the following season.
He went on to win three Serie A titles with Juventus and reached the Champions League Final last season and, of course, the Euro 2016 showpiece on Sunday. And Barry isn’t surprised by the impact he’s made at the Turin club.
“It was a two legged final,” recalled Barry. “There was loads of fans at each game I remember. But Pogba was just the stand-out player.
It was such a mistake by Man United and whoever was in charge not to play him. It was madness really.Aaron Barry
“You could just see he was a huge talent,” he added. “That’s why I was shocked he never got his chance at United.
“Now it looks as if he could go for £100 million or whatever which is outrageous.
“He’s a special player,” he continued. “It was such a mistake by Man United and whoever was in charge not to play him. It was madness really.”
It was the record 10th time United won the prestigious competition and many of the United players went on to become established players at top clubs in England.
Both Lingard and Blackett made their breakthrough seasons with the United first team under Louis van Gaal last year and Barry says it was clear at the time they would go on to become top players.
“There was quite a few lads played in the Cup Final who are established now. They were a really good outfit,” added the ex-Sheffield United man.