Andrea Pirlo describes Paul Pogba as the “strongest” youngster he’s seen, and plays down Marco Verratti comparisons.
The regista moved to New York City FC at the end of last season, following four Scudetti in a row with Juventus.
“The differences from when I started out?” Pirlo considered, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport.
“There are many. At one time, when you came to the first team you were afraid to speak, you sat in the corner. It was a dictatorship by the veterans.
“If you came in with an earring, it would get taken away, if you grew your hair you’d have to cut it. Now a lad comes to a training session with the first team and thinks he’s made it.
“The most important thing to do is get there and take photos.
“The best youngster I’ve seen? Pogba, yeah, he’s the strongest youngster I’ve seen. From the first training session we realised: ‘this guy’s good’.
“He was thin, but his legs nipped in everywhere. Now he’s big and powerful, and he’s also got stronger.
“Are there professional youngsters? Of course there are. [Daniele] Rugani for example. [Federicho] Bernardeschi also seems like a serious lad, but I don’t know him.”
Pirlo was then asked about the future of the Italian national team, with himself, Gigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi approaching the end of their careers.
“The Italy team for 2020? Hard to say. But there could be Rugani, [Alessio] Romagnoli, [Domenico] Berardi, Bernardeschi, [Mattia] De Sciglio, Verratti.
“My heirs? Danilo Cataldi? He’s different from me, he’s more of a box-to-box player. Verratti? He’s not like me, but he can play for the national team for the next 20 years.
“[Rolando] Mandragora played well against us in 2014, I hear good things about [Stefano] Sensi, but obviously I know [Stefano] Sturaro best.
“He improved so much last season, though he’s playing less now. They say youngsters don’t get space in Italy, but look at [Gigi] Donnarumma: he’s better, so he gets space.”