Sport Editor Isabel Baldwin judges whether Paul Pogba’s penalty style is really genius or just a joke (with a very long set up)
Once again Pogba has become the brunt of many a joke. However, this time the Manchester United midfielder is not at the centre of the news for a flamboyant new hairstyle or his ongoing feud with manager, Jose Mourinho, but rather, his penalty technique.
Manchester United’s game against Everton played witness to Pogba taking a total of 26 stuttering steps to reach the penalty spot, only to send the ball straight at Everton keeper, Jordan Pickford. Although the Frenchman did eventually manage to strike the ball into the back of the net from the rebound, it does beg the question can this technique actually be taken seriously or is it simply a laughable attempt to gain attention?
Pogba’s footballing flair has certainly caused a stir this time, leaving Twitter in hysterics. Many have created hilarious comparisons to his penalty, including Usain Bolt’s world record 100m sprint.
However, opinion varies more in the professional footballing world. Despite the tension between the World Cup winner and his Manchester United boss, Mourinho spoke out in defence of Pogba,
“The thing I like is the desire to take it. I don’t like Mickey Mouses, fragile players who are afraid and go: ‘I don’t take penalties.’ I don’t like that.”
Pogba has become rather renowned for his technique of a drawn-out run up, and although at first the idea seems odd, this style has proven to be successful in the past. All five penalties the midfielder has taken this season have demonstrated the technique, ranging from 8-26 steps, with three successfully scored, one saved and one scored on the rebound. Not a bad success rate for a ‘joke’ of a technique.
Whether you believe the penalty is making a mockery of football or is sporting genius, you must see the truth in Ashley Young’s words, “If he wants to take 62 steps and scores the penalty that’s all that matters.”