Five ways Paul Pogba can improve his penalty run-up

Paul Pogba has taken some stick for his lengthy penalty run-up against Everton, but there are some creative ways that he can embellish his preamble...

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The perfect penalty run-up allows the taker to unsettle the goalkeeper while remaining ice cool and unruffled himself.

While some strikers manage that in just two or three efficient strides, Pogba appears to believe that the best way to throw the keeper off is to take so long that he forgets why he is standing there in the first place.

In fact, when it comes to making a meal of a penalty, Pogba’s heroically bad run-up against Everton is equalled only by Simone Zaza’s comic horror show for Italy at Euro 2016.

Football Soccer – Germany v Italy – EURO 2016 – Quarter Final – Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France – 2/7/16
Italy’s Simone Zaza misses during the penalty shootout
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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Scientists estimate that over the course of a lifetime we will all spend around 14 years watching Pogba run up to take penalties, so we may as well make the most of that time.

Here are five ways that Pogba can take his penalty run-up to the next level.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Leicester City – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – August 10, 2018 General view of fans and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Go on tour

If anything, Pogba’s run-up wasn’t long enough. Ideally he would’ve taken in the whole stadium before making contact with the ball. It’d be a nice way of checking in with the fans and getting some of their ideas on where he should put the penalty.

A brutal old-school training method, the Tour de Stade involves running up and down the steps in every section of a stadium.

After sprinting more than 10,000 steps, hitting a decent penalty should feel like a breeze and it’ll be good to finally be able to place it exactly where Brian in Row G wants.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Newcastle United – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – October 6, 2018 Manchester United’s Paul Pogba reacts after missing a goal scoring opportunity REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Spin doctor

A beloved social media craze, the dizzy spot kick has never truly had its chance on the professional stage, for some reason.

It’s a double whammy, allowing Pogba to show his complete contempt for the goalkeeper by rendering himself to all intents and purposes drunk before hitting his shot while also disorientating the keeper into the bargain.

It’ll be impossible for the goalie to have any idea which way he’s going to hit it because Pogba won’t have a clue himself until he’s flat on the floor feeling like he’s going to throw up.

Tweet at the keeper

We all know that Pogba has a penchant for social media, so why not up the stakes a little?

A true showman has time during the run-up to tweet the direction he’s going to put his penalty before firing it home.

During his extended run-up, Pogba simply has to whip his phone out of his sock and tell the watching world of his plans, leaving the keeper scrambling in vain for anything with wi-fi capabilities.

In fact, given the usual length of time required to complete a Pogba penalty he’d probably have time to write a formal letter to the goalkeeper explaining his plans for the spot kick and mail it to his home address to really rub it in.

Costume change

While ambling his way to the penalty spot, Pogba manages to change out of his United home kit into the away strip before striking the ball.

The baffled goalkeeper is left trying to work out whether United were always playing in rose pink and whether he is at Old Trafford after all just in time for Pogba to fire past him.

Alternatively, Pogba could change into a Real Madrid shirt, leaving the perplexed No 1 wondering whether he accidentally transferred to La Liga or flashed forward to 2019-20.

Enjoy the commute

A significant percentage of Pogba’s spare time is spent running up to take penalties, so he should take the chance to enjoy some of his off-the-field hobbies on the go.

Like a commuter on a tube train, Pogba should make the most of the spare minutes on the way in to take his spot kick by whipping out a sudoku puzzle or listening to a podcast. He could probably even teach himself Spanish over the course of a season.

If he wants to really live up to his reputation as an entertainer maybe he could do some juggling, complete a Rubik’s cube or take his run up on a tightrope?

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