Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba’s unique run-up while taking a penalty has become quite the talking point this season. The Frenchman got another chance to kick from the spot during Manchester United’s Premier League home match against Everton on Sunday and he took as many as 26 small steps in his run-up before kicking the ball.
The run-up may have become a big hit had its success rate been good but Pogba has already missed two times this season, including Sunday when his penalty kick was saved by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford diving to his right. Luckily for Pogba and United, Pickford could only parry the ball back towards Pogba who slotted in the rebound to give his team the lead.
It wasn’t too long before videos of Pogba’s failed penalty appeared on social media but one particular rendition was rather amusing. The video featured an inset which showed one of Usain Bolt’s 100m races. Yes, Bolt runs the 100m faster than Pogba does to reach the ball while taking a penalty.
Pogba later admitted that he might have to tweak his run-up considering goalkeepers have now started figuring it out. “I always try to destabilise the keeper,” he said in his post-match interview. “I always shoot like this, that’s how I know how to take penalties. Maybe I [should] practice to change it because maybe the keepers start to know my step.”
Pickford admitted he knew Pogba’s “little trick” and said that’s why he was able to save it. “He’s got that good of a penalty, he’s got that power in it, so you’ve got to go a tad early. Because if he wants to, he’s gonna hit top bins.”
United manager Jose Mourinho, however, insisted he is happy for Pogba to remain as his penalty taker. “The thing I like is the desire to take it,” said Mourinho. “I don’t like Mickey Mouses, fragile, afraid, who go, ‘I don’t take penalties.’ I like the player that wants to take it.
“Paul wants to take them and that, for me, is fantastic. 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.”
With inputs from AFP