Tun­ni­cliffe has in­side track to get the bet­ter of old pal Pogba

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Sam Dean

Four of a kind: From the left, Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe with Jesse Lin­gard, Paul Pogba and Ravel Mor­ri­son as they cel­e­brate Manch­ester United’s vic­tory in the FA Youth Cup fi­nal back in 2011

Ryan Tun­ni­cliffe, the Lu­ton Town mid­fielder, is hop­ing to use his ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing along­side Paul Pogba to his ad­van­tage as he looks to stop the World Cup win­ner at Ke­nil­worth Road tonight.

Tun­ni­cliffe was a team-mate of Pogba’s dur­ing their suc­cess­ful youth ca­reers at Manch­ester United, with the two play­ers form­ing a strong re­la­tion­ship on the field.

Pogba has cred­ited Tun­ni­cliffe with be­ing one the play­ers who helped him set­tle at United af­ter he joined the club as a 16-year-old, and both mid­field­ers were part of the side who won the FA Youth Cup in 2011.

“When he first came in, he was a good lad,” Tun­ni­cliffe said. “He was loud, but I had been there quite a while so I did any­thing I could to help him.

“You see how good a player he is when you try to get around him. He was my mid­field part­ner, so we tried

bond­ing a re­la­tion­ship off the field. If he thinks I helped him then I was more than happy be­cause he has gone on to do great things. If I can take a slight bit of credit for that, then I’m happy.”

Tun­ni­cliffe played un­der Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer for the club’s re­serve side and the 27-year-old will be hop­ing the United man­ager se­lects his old friend in tonight’s Carabao Cup meet­ing.

“I think ev­ery­one can see that he’s world-class,” Tun­ni­cliffe said of

Lu­ton v Man Utd

Pogba. “I played along­side him quite a few times. It was a while back so to play against him will be fun for me, and I’m sure he’d say the same.

“I’ve stud­ied up on play­ers that I’ve come up against, so I’ve seen him in train­ing. But he can prob­a­bly say the same thing about me.

“I’m not the player I was when I was 17 and I don’t think he is. He’s ob­vi­ously im­proved a lot and got big­ger, stronger, so I have an idea of the things he can do, but it’s up to me to see if I can stop it.”

Lu­ton have won their first four matches of this sea­son in all com­pe­ti­tions and ap­pear to be build­ing real mo­men­tum un­der the man­age­ment of Nathan Jones, who re­turned to the club from Stoke City in May and mas­ter­minded their es­cape from rel­e­ga­tion.

They are one of only three sides to have won two games out of two in the Cham­pi­onship this sea­son and Jones said he had im­proved as a man­ager since his dif­fi­cult spell with Stoke. Jones was sacked by Stoke last Novem­ber, just nine months af­ter leav­ing Lu­ton.

“I be­lieve I am a bet­ter man­ager than when I left here be­cause I learnt a lot from my pre­vi­ous job,” Jones said.

“There were a lot of dif­fer­ent things that I had to solve or go through that I hadn’t faced be­fore, but as a man­ager that is a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence. I am a bet­ter man­ager for it and that is what you have to take out of it.”

Of the visit of United, he said: “We plan for the very best team that they can put out. What­ever changes they make, they’re ex­tremely strong – 11 dif­fer­ent in­ter­na­tion­als.”

Ley­ton Ori­ent’s at­tempt to bring down their il­lus­tri­ous near neigh­bours was set to be called off af­ter a num­ber of the League Two club’s play­ers tested pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus. Hav­ing ac­counted for Swansea ear­lier in the com­pe­ti­tion, League Two’s New­port aim for another Cham­pi­onship scalp when Wat­ford ar­rive at Rod­ney Pa­rade. West Bromwich have en­dured a dif­fi­cult re­turn to the top flight – they are point­less af­ter two games – but can raise spir­its against Cham­pi­onship op­po­si­tion. Felipe An­der­son and Se­bastien Haller should fea­ture in at­tack for a West Ham side who have been fail­ing to trans­late chances into goals in a slow start to the Pre­mier League.

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