Gary Neville Calls Manchester United Penalty Kick Protocol “embarrassing”


gary neville

Former Manchester United captain and current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville is known for his strong takes on his former club, and most of the time, he’s spot on. Tonight was definitely one of those times as Neville hit out at United’s protocol for deciding who gets to take penalty kicks.

United drew 1-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers tonight, in match taken in by Neville’s brother Phil, a United club legend and current manager of the England women’s national team. What Phil Neville, and everyone else in attendance, saw in regards to United’s spot kick situation was, in the words of Gary Neville, “embarrassing.”

gary neville

Paul Pogba won a penalty in the second half, and then subsequently missed the potential game winning goal from the spot. He’s missed four PKs going back to last season while United’s top pure central forward, Marcus Rashford, has a 100% record in PK conversion for both club and country.

As United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained today, the players get to decide who takes the spot kicks, and not the manager, or the the team captain. There is no one single designated penalty kick taker, and Neville is not a fan of this practice.

“They should decide in the dressing room who is the penalty taker,” Neville said while doing analyst work for Sky Sports.

“It’s embarrassing. This is a Manchester United penalty, this is not a tombola, this is not under-fives on the school field.”

Tombola, for those who don’t know, is a lottery board game which originated in Southern Italy. It’s basically bingo, and it works as a perfect metaphor because this is a very important position on the team, and it should not be left up to chance.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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