Wes Brown has warned Sunderland of the threat posed by former team-mate Paul Pogba ahead of the Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford.
The Christmas cracker will see the Black Cats strive to build on a solid 1-0 win over Watford last time out, with David Moyes facing Manchester United for the first time since departing the Theatre of Dreams.
Brown, 37, is currently playing for Championship side Blackburn Rovers – scoring his first goal last weekend as Danny Graham also found the net – but he’s kept a close eye on his former clubs as the 2016-17 Premier League season continues to unfold.
And he’s paid close attention to one player in particular, but warns United’s counterparts that there is much more to come from the world’s most-expensive player.
“I think Paul’s been great.
“He’s got a lot of stick just because he cost so much but he shows his ability every time he plays and he can pretty much play in any position, showing flair and an end product which I’m sure we’ll see even more of as he settles and the season goes on.
“I always got on with the young lads and when he was in the academy he was a top boy,” added the former Black Cat. “It was a shame to see him go because he was so talented and I’m pretty sure that if you asked anyone who was there they knew he was going to be a great player.
“He was always very strong-minded - we knew he was a good player and I think he did as well - but that only helped him improve because he was so focussed and had such drive, which is why he flourished at Juventus and why every top club in Europe wanted him in the summer.
“At every level he was the best player on the pitch from under-18s to when he trained with us, so now he’s back I think its brilliant for the club because although he did leave it might have been exactly what he and United to get the best out of his quality now.
“He’s still very young and he’s already a great player, so they’ll be plenty more to come.”
Brown also shared his thoughts on Sunderland’s upcoming trip to Old Trafford, praising the Black Cats and their manager following a timely return to form.
“David Moyes is a top manager who I’ve come against many times during my career.
“It will take time for him to get the team playing the way he wants it to but you’re already starting to see that with a few wins in recent weeks.”
He continued: “The performances have also been much better and it’s got them back up there with the rest of the bottom five or six teams, so the main thing going into the festive period is sticking with that group before pushing on and away from the bottom three during 2017.
“I’ve watched most of United’s games and they’ve been very unlucky in certain games this season, but it’s a tough league this year and the top four - as they stand at the moment - are very strong.
“It will be difficult for Sunderland on Boxing Day especially after the Tottenham game because United will be on a high and they now know they can beat the best, but - like Moyes - Mourinho is probably still working out his best team.
“They have every chance of making more special memories at Old Trafford.”