Football

Penalty confusion is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fault: Jermaine Jenas

Former England and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas believes the person to blame for the controversy over who is Manchester United's first-choice penalty-taker is manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Marcus Rashford appeared to be the Red Devils' man on the spot, opening the scoring via a penalty in United's opening-day 4-0 win over Chelsea.

But he handed spot-kick duties over to Paul Pogba on Tuesday morning (Singapore time) against Wolverhampton Wanderers, after the 26-year-old was felled in the box.

The Frenchman missed his 68th-minute penalty and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Pogba has missed four penalties in the English Premier League since the start of last season, more than any other player.

His conversion rate from the spot in the league now stands at 64 per cent.

Rashford has scored his last two penalties.

After the match, Solskjaer said: "Paul and Marcus are the designated penalty-takers.

"And it's up to them to decide there and then who feels: 'This is mine'. That's our system, you can see the slides on the Powerpoint."

Jenas, however, believes the situation "makes no sense".

He wrote in his Daily Express column: "I cannot understand how a manager can send two players, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, onto a pitch with a mindset of one having to stand down as penalty taker in the heat of the moment.

"Solskjaer carries the can for this one.It makes no sense.

"A penalty taker has to be confident 100 per cent, and you have to know in your mind, if you get one, that you are ready and mentally prepared.

"You are sending two players out who mentally don't know who will actually take it.

"I wonder whether this illustrates something about the power dynamic between the Manchester United manager, and his star midfielder...

"Is Solskjaer tip-toeing around a sensitive issue, at a sensitive time in the European transfer window, to keep Pogba happy and at the club, rather than seek (a) confrontation?"

The Sun reported yesterday that Solskjaer told the United dressing room that Rashford is now the club's first-choice penalty taker.

He is said to have chided the England forward and Pogba for not deciding who was on penalty duty before the Wolves match.

Football