Sebastien Haller is living the dream at West Ham… because he gets to play against his friend and idol Paul Pogba in the Premier League
- Sebastien Haller had another reason to join West Ham United in the summer
- He is excited he gets to play against his friend and idol, Man United’s Paul Pogba
- He has been keeping a close eye on Pogba during France training sessions
- Haller is looking forward to trying to get the better of Harry Maguire next
Aside from fulfilling his dream of playing in the Premier League, there was something else that gave Sebastien Haller cause for great excitement when he signed for West Ham in the summer – an opportunity to play against his idol and friend Paul Pogba.
When Haller arrived for his first training session with the Under 16s aged 15 in 2010, Pogba was already playing two age groups above. It was never any surprise to him that Pogba, who made his full debut for France in March 2013 – something Haller is yet to do – would achieve the high levels of success he has. According to Haller, it is even more impressive given what is expected of Pogba.
West Ham’s Sebastien Haller is excited at the prospect of playing friend and idol Paul Pogba
Haller has been keeping a close eye on Pogba, one year his senior, at France’s training sessions
‘Pogba is more than talented,’ Haller said. ‘He is a big player and he is not the only one, but for him there is even more pressure because everyone is talking his price [£100million from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016], his return and the way he acts or even his looks.
‘He is someone and he knows he is a star and when you’re a star, everyone criticises you, even if you are good at what you are doing. People even criticise [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo.’
Pressure on high profile players, Haller adds, is ‘normal’ and a ‘part of the game’. As West Ham’s lone striker, Haller is experiencing similar levels of expectation. No doubt he is already living up to the record £45m transfer fee West Ham paid Eintracht Frankfurt for him, scoring three League goals in four matches.
There’s a lot of pressure on Sebastien Haller to perform as West Ham’s lone striker
The 6ft 3in striker’s game is built around clever movement, physicality and a typical attacking desire to beat defenders to the ball and score. ‘Hard work pays off,’ as his own website states.
On Sunday against Harry Maguire, Haller will face one of his most difficult examinations yet in English football but one he is relishing.
‘I think the club here paid a lot of money for me to come here and win these battles,’ he said.
‘I can’t promise I will always win them, but I can promise I will give everything to win these battles.’
He added: ‘This is football, so you can win or lose against anyone but, as long as you keep your focus high and really want to win the battle at 100 per cent, I think it’s a great thing.’
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