In my time at Man United, if there was a penalty, Eric Cantona was taking it and that was that. There was no room for debate, no arguing between players, no drama – Cantona takes it, full stop.
It didn’t matter if he’d missed the previous one or whatever, he was the man that would be taking the penalty.
When Cantona wasn’t there, Dennis Irwin used to take penalties, but unless Cantona had specifically asked Sir Alex Ferguson or Bryan Robson not to take them, he was going to. It meant that we always knew, and it was always clear who would be on spot-kicks.
It stops all the Oscar-winning theatrics and dramatics that we saw during the Wolves game. The issue is it never should have been a case of either of them two can take it, of course they both wanted to, they want the goal and the glory.
So, it’s down to Ole’s management.
He should be making it perfectly clear before they go on the pitch. He should be saying: ‘If there’s a penalty, Rashford you’re taking it. If you’re not on the pitch – it’s Pogba, and so on.’
There’s a list of order there, it makes it transparent, and there’s none of this bickering about who scored when and who missed, it leaves no room for debate.
All managers should know who their penalty taker is
That’s where it comes down to Ole. He should be making it crystal clear that there is one penalty-taker, and that’s it. He needs to show his leadership – and tell the players that it’s the end of the theatricals, there’s one person only for the job.
I’d like to think that 99% of managers in the Football League know four things when their players go out: 1. Who they’re marking on set-pieces and free-kicks, 2. Who’s in the wall, 3. Who’s on free-kicks, and 4. Who is our penalty taker.
I’m not talking just about the top leagues here, I’m talking non-league. Everyone should know this. Even when my son Daniel played in his Sunday League, he and I knew who the penalty taker was. Even the kids weren’t squabbling about it. So, for me, Ole shouldn’t be coming out and saying he’s got two.
When he spoke after the game, I can see what he was trying to say, but it can’t happen again. United are improving and they don’t need anything which might derail them.
There’s been people suggesting that Ole is trying to appease Pogba by letting him take penalties, but as the manager at one of the biggest clubs in the world that shouldn’t even be a thought.
You can’t work like that, you need to show that leadership. There’s no reason why he should feel the need to appease Pogba, if anything it should be the other way around.
Marcus Rashford is the obvious choice – why go for anyone else?
For me, it’s clear who should be chosen, too. Marcus Rashford has never missed a penalty in senior football, he netted in United’s 4-0 opener against Chelsea, there’s an obvious choice here, he should be the penalty taker.
Look at his record, why would you go for anyone else?
Take the penalty he scored against PSG in the Champions League as an example, to score that under that immense pressure, when your record is perfect compared to Pogba’s too, there’s no question for me. Rashford should be taking the penalties.
We all miss them at times of course, but also a major consideration should be Pogba’s future. Will he even be here when the European window shuts? And if he is, will he leave in January anyway? Whereas you’ve got Rashford, who’s going to be around for four or five years, so why not just make him your man?