The former Bianconeri coach says the Frenchman is worthy of the No.10 shirt, and tips Roma and AC Milan as their main challengers for the Scudetto

Marcello Lippi has hailed Paul Pogba as a genius and expects him to show that he is Juventus’ natural leader after he was assigned the club’s iconic No.10 shirt.

The Serie A champions are preparing to defend their fourth consecutive Scudetto without the likes of Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal who left the club this summer, prompting the club to install Pogba as the new bearer of the coveted number.

And Lippi believes the Turin giants’ faith in the 22-year-old will be rewarded, backing the starlet to come of age this season and realise his full potential despite growing interest from Europe’s top sides.

“Pogba is a born leader, and he deserves the No.10,” the former World Cup-winning boss told Tuttosport. “By choosing to stay at Juventus, he showed his character.

“Now he must confirm his leadership skills along with his genius, by dispensing with parts of his game that are needless, such as tricks that he does in some areas of the pitch.”

Despite the summer exits of the Bianconeri’s key players, Lippi does not expect their title credentials to have taken too much of a setback, although he acknolwedged the renewed threat coming from Roma and AC Milan.

“Juventus have a clear direction and have made the right signings so they are still the favourites,” he continued. “They have been winning for four years so must be considered favourites.

“Paulo Dybala is a player who combines technical brilliance with fantasy, and will be a perfect player once he strengthens from a physical aspect.

“Still, Roma have substantially closed the gap with forwards like Edin Dzeko, Mohamed Salah to play alongside Francesco Totti and Juan Iturbe. Right behind Juve and Roma are Milan.

“Their team has been strengthened and they look more motivated under a coach like Sinisa Mihajlovic.”

The new Serie A season kicks off on August 23, with Juventus beginning their title defence at home against Udinese.