Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said he has no intention of taking away Paul Pogba’s penalty-taking privileges despite the midfielder missing from the spot as Manchester United drew 1-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Pogba won the penalty in the 67th minute when he was tripped by Conor Coady and he insisted on taking it himself even though Marcus Rashford volunteered. Rui Patricio saved his shot, meaning Pogba has missed four penalties in the last year.
Putting aside the disgraceful racist abuse he received that has been rightly condemned by Manchester United and many of Pogba’s teammates, this was an on-field controversy that the Frenchman and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may well have been dreading.
Anyone can miss a penalty and quite frankly it was an error from Solskjaer that he didn’t make it clear who was taking United’s spot-kicks.
Marcus Rashford scored one against Chelsea and should have stepped up against Wolves. A poor management decision and nothing more.
It would make more sense that a striker who already had two goals to his name should have been the ideal candidate to take the penalty, score and keep his confidence going.
Neglecting the miss, Paul Pogba has been a decent dead-ball finisher but if United are to make the most of spot-kicks (which they would likely get a lot of), a “perfect” penalty merchant must be properly developed over time.
The perfect name that fits the hat is Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic. The 28-year-old captain is arguably the best penalty taker in England and his numbers are impressive in Europe as well.
His calmness and precision when it comes to taking penalties have seen him become the yardstick for the role in England and perhaps United should be looking to carve out a player like that.
This analysis shows the penalty record of Paul Pogba and how he compares to the Serbian’s tally. Is Pogba a justified penalty taker or should he simply be stripped of United’s spot-kick duties?
As shown in the stat below, Only Milivojevic scored more goals from the penalty spot than the Frenchman, which at least shows he’s up there with the top spot-kick takers. Right?
Only Luka Milivojevic (10) has scored more goals from penalties in the Premier League this season than Paul Pogba (7).
Though Pogba has *probably* taken the most time in taking them. ? pic.twitter.com/oCSsYEFyvB
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 13, 2019
Well, in the Premier League, there’s always an interesting angle for all contexts.
A closer look at statistics shows that for all of Pogba’s goals from the spot, his conversion rate might actually be one of the most abysmal ones.
Paul Pogba: Has missed four penalties in the Premier League since the start of last season, more than any other player in that time
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 19, 2019
His four penalties missed since the start of last season means he could easily have been above Milivojevic or at least level on par at 10 had he scored 3 out of those 4 missed penalty kicks.
Which leads to the important point of consistency. Using Milivojevic as the yardstick, consistency from the spot has been upheld by the Serbian.
Luka Milivojević has now scored 17 of his 19 Premier League penalties for Crystal Palace.
Mr. Reliable from the spot. ❄️ pic.twitter.com/c6258KBoye
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 9, 2019
Putting that into context, the 28-year-old has only missed 2 out of 19 penalties in his two years at Crystal Palace. Paul Pogba in the last 12 months has misplaced 4 penalties alone, which is not good enough for a player of his stature, calibre and the funny amount of “hours” it takes him to run up to a penalty.
Finally, Does Solksjaer have a better candidate he can call upon?
Yes, he does. An able one at that.
A certain Englishman in the name of Marcus Rashford.
He might not have the stature or calibre that Paul Pogba has but he clearly makes up for those in his conversion rate.
It’s important to note that Marcus Rashford has never missed a penalty in his United career. Not even once.
Marcus Rashford has never missed a penalty. https://t.co/bdfzWSV9Ay
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2019
Marcus Rashford's first senior penalty in a shoot-out: ⚽️
Marcus Rashford's first senior penalty in normal time: ⚽️
Marcus Rashford's first penalty in normal time in international football: ⚽️
Marcus Rashford's first Premier League penalty: ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/0Slt6sTCNb
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 11, 2019
Pogba might be a very influential name in the United dressing room but Solksjaer would have to make the ruthless decision of stripping him off penalty duties for someone with a better record in the name of Rashford.
United’s pacy attack line will mean they will get caught wrongly by defenders on many occasions and ultimately they could be looking at a lot of penalties this season.
The Red Devils will be faced with many more games similar to the one against Wolves where the opposition might be hard to break and a lucky penalty might be the winning escape route.
All sentiments must be completely removed and Marcus Rashford should be officially appointed as the team’s first choice spot-kick taker.