Paul Pogba “is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t” at Manchester United, says Paul Parker, with a pointless row having erupted after Marcus Rashford stepped aside to let the Frenchman take a penalty at Wolves.
A World Cup winner fluffed his lines from the spot at Molineux, with Rui Patricio’s save leaving United to reflect on what could have been in a 1-1 draw.
Criticism has come Pogba’s way on the back of his failure from 12 yards, with Gary Neville claiming the 26-year-old’s decision to step up ahead of Rashford was a form of “treachery”.
Former United defender Parker is baffled by the debate as there was no on-field argument, with Rashford fully accepting of the decision to let a more experienced colleague take on penalty duty.
“Pogba has taken penalties previously, maybe the highlight of his game was that run into the box and he felt it was upon himself to take that penalty against Wolves,” Parker told Eurosport.
“Marcus Rashford, as a Mancunian, a Manchester United fan and someone with respect for Pogba, turned around and said, ‘okay’.
“Pogba misses the penalty, fails to score and gets ridiculed for it. If he scores the goal, and Manchester United win the game 2-1, Pogba’s a hero. But that’s the situation Pogba’s in – he’s damned if does and damned if he doesn’t.”
Parker added, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having reiterated that he is happy for penalties to be shared among his squad: “Maybe Rashford didn’t want to make a big scene because of his respect for Manchester United like last season with Fulham where Kamara had a big bust up with Mitrovic.
“Did he tell Pogba that he wanted to take it? No he didn’t. If he had, maybe Pogba would have listened to him.
“Ole Solskjaer can only do so much before a game and at half-time, then have a word after.
“If Pogba had scored that goal, nobody would be concerned about what Solskjaer had to say about it – the ball would be in the back of the net and Manchester United would win that game.”
United, who will be hoping to avoid any more penalty drama in their next outing, will be back in Premier League action on Saturday when they play host to Crystal Palace.