As Sir Alex Ferguson’s reserve-team coach, Joyce dished out some rollickings to Pogba during his first spell at United – the biggest of them when the then 18-year-old decided to quit for Juventus.
But he takes great pride in the part he played in the development, not just of Pogba, but the other 80-odd youngsters who have gone on to make careers as professional players – some in a big way, some more obscure.
“Even back then Paul wanted to be the best player in the world,” Joyce said. “He said it openly and always had that inner drive and belief. And he set his standards to try and achieve that.
“I had a go at him a couple of times because he never tackled. Did he respond well? Yeah – he didn’t have a choice!”
While Pogba is the shining example of where hard work and dedication, allied to immense ability, can take a youngster, Joyce says there are others who have not made the most of their talents.
Warren Joyce has discussed coaching Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison
Paul Pogba fired Manchester United into the EFL Cup final on Thursday night
The 52-year-old is frustrated that talented players like Adnan Januzaj, Federico Macheda and James Wilson allowed their careers to drift after making the first-team breakthrough at United, and deeply saddened by the demise of Ravel Morrison.
“The frustrating thing is seeing ones like Januzaj, Wilson or Macheda get up to that level and stop doing the work they did to get them to that level,” said Joyce.
“Not play the games, not train as hard, sit in Jacuzzis and not do the same weights and sessions they did to get there – those are the frustrating ones for me, because that could be avoided.
“You’re in football for sport, to be competitive and try to do your best and challenge yourself, so those things are on the periphery.
“You either want to be in a boy band in a pop star environment, or a footballer.”
Paul Pobga launches new Adidas clothes line
Mon, January 16, 2017
Paul Pogba has launched a clothes line with Adidas!
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Joyce gave Morrison – arguably the most talented of them all – the chance to train at Wigan but after 18 months of relative inactivity at Lazio he is simply not fit enough and has moved on to QPR.
“It’s easy to judge Ravel, if you don’t know his background,” he said. “I know he is no saint. When he was doing community service at United I took it in turns with others to shovel horse s**t and paint sheds with him to help him through it. I always thought it was his best chance if he stayed at United.”
Thanks to Pogba’s dedication, Joyce is convinced his ambition to be world No1 will not be sidetracked by off-field commercial distractions.
“That depends on him really,” he adds. “It depends whether he keeps having them stupid haircuts, and involved in too many gimmicks off the field!
“You don’t remember Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs doing very much of that. I suppose I’ve just done their team talk for them now!”
Pogba’s outspoken agent, Mino Raiola, is said to have been the driving force behind his controversial move to Juventus in 2012 and Joyce endorses that belief.
Warren Joyce coached Paul Pogba during his time in the Manchester United academy
“There was literally just me and Paul in a room,” he said. “There is a story there but you’re better leaving it dead. I don’t know the agent at all so it is difficult to talk about.
“All I do know is that Paul was desperate to play for us in the Manchester Senior Cup final against City a few days before he was due to leave. If he had broken his leg he wouldn’t have been joining Juventus two days later.”
The son of former Burnley player Walter, Joyce is not ashamed of his old-school values. It tells you something about his character that despite breaking his neck playing rugby at school he went on to becoming a professional footballer, clocking up over 700 games for Bolton, Preston, Plymouth and Hull as a tigerish midfielder before moving into coaching.
And it comes as no surprise he reveals he chose to drive a basic saloon when he was at United while the youngsters under his charge were pulling up alongside him in the Carrington car park in far flashier motors.
“I had the worst car at the club,” he revealed, “There are too many kids nowadays who have got big flash cars and they’ve not done anything in the game. I don’t think they’re old fashioned values, I think it’s the right way to be.”
Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford may poke fun at their old ‘sergeant major’ tomorrow, but deep down they know they owe him a big debt.