Neville likened to Pogba in shootout jibe: ‘Doing my head in!’

Date published: Monday 31st May 2021 1:31 - Will Ford

Gary Neville Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

David James claims Paul Pogba geeing David de Gea up ahead of Manchester United’s Europa League final penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal reminded him of Gary Neville at Euro 204.

The former England goalkeeper recalled Neville making him nervous ahead of the shootout in the defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2004 quarter-final.

Pogba was seen trying to motivate De Gea before the shootout against Villarreal, before the United goalkeeper failed to make a single save, before missing his own spot kick to lose the final for his side.

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And James believes Pogba will have made De Gea more nervous, something former United full-back Neville did 17 years ago.

James told talkSPORT: “As soon as it went to penalties, I was watching David de Gea in the clips of the huddle when the team got together – and I said to myself: he is not confident. He didn’t look confident.

“In Euro 2004 I was getting prepared and Gary Neville was just following me around saying, ‘You can do it! You can do it! You can save it. You’re the best! Blah, blah…

“I was trying to be composed. I looked at Darius Vassell and went, “he (Neville) is doing my head in.

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

James also failed to save a penalty at the Euro 2004 last-eight shootout, with Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo scoring the winning spot kick to send his side through.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted after the Europa League final loss that he did consider replacing De Gea with other shot stopper Dean Henderson during extra-time due to the Spaniard’s poor penalty record.

The Norwegian boss said: “You go through every scenario, of course, and it [De Gea’s penalty record] had crossed my mind in the build-up to the game but we were confident in David and prepared.

“Anything can happen in a penalty shootout. I stuck with the keeper who played all of the game.

“I’ve got to say the penalty shootout was high quality, but we didn’t do enough in the 120 minutes to score more goals and that’s the disappointing bit.”


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