Paul Pogba continues to take penalty risk with 28-step run-up against Everton… so how has controversial style worked out for him so far?
- Paul Pogba’s stuttering penalty-taking technique is attracting more controversy
- Man United midfielder took 28 steps and 11.58 seconds to take kick on Sunday
- Everton’s Jordan Pickford made the save, but Pogba scored on the rebound
- He has deployed the tip-tap run-up five times this season – scoring three of them
- But Pogba himself admitted that goalkeepers are able to read his intentions
Paul Pogba’s penalty-taking technique is once again under the microscope after the Manchester United star enjoyed a huge stroke of good fortune on Sunday.
After a stuttering run-up that featured 28 mini-steps and took 11.58 seconds – two seconds longer than Usain Bolt’s 100m world record – Pogba’s spot-kick was saved by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Fortunately for the French World Cup winner, Pickford pushed the ball straight back out to him and he was able to score on the rebound.
Paul Pogba once again used his stuttering run-up technique to take a penalty against Everton
The Manchester United midfielder took 28 steps and 11.58 seconds to take the spot-kick
Pogba’s delayed penalty was saved by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, who guessed correctly
However, the save has made Pogba reconsider whether his delayed run-up is actually effective and it could well be the last we see of it.
‘I was lucky,’ Pogba admitted after United’s 2-1 win. ‘I always try to destabilise the keeper.
‘Maybe they know how I take penalties, maybe I should practise to change it, if the keepers know my step.’
But Pogba found support from his manager Jose Mourinho, who commended his willingness to step forward and shoulder the pressure and responsibility of the spot-kick.
‘The thing I like is the desire to take it,’ Mourinho said. ‘Let me choose the words, I don’t want to be punished.
Luckily for Pogba, Pickford’s save pushed the ball straight back to him and he fired home
Pickford was unable to recover in time to keep out the rebound as United took a 1-0 lead
Pogba runs off in celebration – and relief – after tucking away the rebound to put United ahead
‘I don’t like Mickey Mouses, the fragile, afraid to go, ‘I don’t take penalties’. I like the player that says: ‘I want to take it.’
‘Paul, can he improve? I think he can. The goalkeepers know his running, they don’t move and they are waiting for his decision so he has to learn from that.
‘But for me the most important thing is he wants to go again.’
The Twittersphere and the television pundits remain split on his tip-tap technique, however.
Former United player Gary Neville said on Sky Sports that ‘it’s not right… it’s for show, for theatre… that stuttering run-up is building the tension and anxiety.’
But does it get results? Pogba has taken five penalty kicks for United in that style this season – with a mixed bag of outcomes.
United manager Jose Mourinho was pleased with Pogba’s courage in stepping up
vs Leicester City, Premier League, August 10, 2018 – SCORED
18 steps, 7.48 seconds
United’s first match of the Premier League season and a first-half penalty that Pogba stepped up for.
The Frenchman took 18 steps, tip-tapping from the edge of the penalty box to within a couple of feet of the ball before extending his stride and firing it into the top corner beyond Kasper Schmeichel.
The kick took 7.48 seconds and set the tone for the season.
Pogba begins his stuttering, 18-step run up before taking his penalty against Leicester City
After 16 mini-steps from the edge of the box, Pogba takes two bigger ones to strike and score
Pogba’s penalty run-up started on the edge of the box and slowly closed in on the ball
He was successful on this occasion, scoring United’s first Premier League goal of the season
vs Brighton, Premier League, August 19 – SCORED
Nine steps, 2.35 seconds
United’s second game of the season and another penalty awarded – in the fourth minute of stoppage time as they trailed Brighton 3-1.
Given the limited time United had to enact a turnaround, this is unsurprisingly the quickest penalty Pogba has taken with this technique.
Just a handful of stuttering steps on the edge of the box, then a swift bound to the ball before it is dispatched past Mat Ryan in goal.
Though successful, Pogba’s penalty was in vain as United lost the match 3-2.
In the final minute at Brighton and with United trailing, Pogba’s penalty is quicker than usual
Just a handful of steps before a big stride and the penalty is dispatched into the top corner
Despite the successful penalty, United lost the match at the Amex Stadium 3-2
vs Burnley, Premier League, September 2 – SAVED
13 steps, 6.78 seconds
United’s third penalty in their opening four matches of the season was awarded at Burnley, where they were already two goals to the good.
Once again, Pogba went for the stuttering approach, with 13 steps over 6.78 seconds, starting small and then breaking into a long stride.
But Burnley keeper Joe Hart read his intentions, diving to his right to push the ball back across his goal and away.
Fortunately for Pogba, it didn’t have too much impact on the outcome.
United are two goals up at Burnley in early September and Pogba has a chance to make it three
Once again, he takes the stuttering run-up approach to try and bamboozle keeper Joe Hart
Pogba takes 13 steps this time and 6.78 seconds before striding forward and striking the ball
But Hart has successfully read his intentions, diving to his right to repel the ball
vs Young Boys, Champions League, September 19 – SCORED
19 steps, 10.03 seconds
This penalty, just before half-time, gives United the opportunity to take a two-goal lead over Swiss side Young Boys in their opening Champions League fixture.
Once again, Pogba goes for the tip-tap run up, with some 19 steps taking him as close to the ball as possible before getting in a stride and a swing.
But for the first time, the process takes in excess of 10 seconds as Pogba gets even slower with his approach.
This time it is a textbook penalty, into the top corner well above the dive of keeper David von Ballmoos. United win the game 3-0.
Pogba was given another chance from the spot in United’s European game with Young Boys
This is the longest build-up to the kick so far, lasting 19 steps and over 10 seconds
Pogba gets as close to the ball as possible with the small steps before letting fly with the shot
It’s a success – although the keeper guesses correctly, the ball flies into the top corner
vs Everton, Premier League, October 28 – MISSED
28 steps, 11.58 seconds
Which brings us to Sunday and the most extreme example of Pogba’s pitter-patter penalty taking yet.
It took Pogba 28 steps and 11.58 seconds to take his penalty against Everton, apparently giving Jordan Pickford plenty of time to read his intentions.
The keeper guessed correctly and saved, only to push the ball straight back to Pogba, who scored on the rebound.
Pogba’s penalty against Everton featured the longest run-up yet – 28 steps and 11.58 seconds
Jordan Pickford was given plenty of time to guess Pogba’s intentions and make the save
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