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Former English star blames Pogba antics for De Gea’s penalty miss vs Villarreal

Manchester United legend, Gary Neville has urged the club to go all out and secure the signing of Tottenham Hotspur talisman Harry Kane
Gary Neville is Manchester United through and through

David James blames Pogba for De Gea missed penalty for Manchester United

Gary Neville would have cut a frustrated figure after David de Gea missed the decisive penalty for Manchester United in last week’s Europa League final.

The Spaniard’s miss saw Villarreal trump the Red Devils against all odds. The veteran goalkeeper looked ill at ease as he stepped up to take his spot-kick and it did not come as a surprise when he missed.

Speaking on talkSport (h/t The Mirror), former English international David James has a theory as to why De Gea looked flustered. Perhaps incredulously, he has pinned the blame on United ace Paul Pogba.

Manchester United earmark Gianluigi Donnarumma to replace David de Gea
De Gea had a forgettable night against Villarreal

The Frenchman was taken off in the lead-up to the shootout and did not play a direct part. James believes Pogba continuously bothered the goalkeeper and put him off his game.

James is not a stranger to penalty shootout heartbreaks. He was a part of the England side that was knocked out in similar circumstances at Euro 2004. A result in which he felt Gary Neville had a role to play.

“Pogba was doing it to David de Gea and I was thinking ‘please don’t be doing what Gary Neville did.”

Gary Neville
James has accused Neville of distracting him during the Euroa 2004 shootout against Portugal

History repeating itself?

James went on to add that Neville followed him around during the shootout, trying to psyche him up. However, it appears to have had the opposite impact. He believes Pogba’s antics had the same impact on De Gea against Villarreal.

“Euro 2004 I was getting prepared, Gary Neville was just following me around going ‘you can do it! You’re the best, you’re the best!’ Doing my head in.”

The United legend however appeared to be puzzled by James’ comments and took to Twitter to respond. His reply was a single emoticon that expressed puzzlement more than anything.

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Personally, we cannot see how Pogba’s comments led to De Gea’s miss. De Gea may have missed his penalty but James clearly has missed the point.

Written by Pranav Nair

An Engineering postgraduate with a keen interest in statistics, pop culture and football.

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