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Paul Pogba convinces Wayne Rooney to let him take penalty

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Manchester United produced one of their best performances of the season so far by comfortably beating Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday.

The game was won within the first 45 minutes as two goals from Paul Pogba, either side of another from Anthony Martial gave the Red Devils an unassailable lead over the Turkish side.

Arguably the most surprising aspect of the match was Man United's penalty takers.

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For a rare change, Wayne Rooney was actually picked to play from the first whistle and almost everyone at Old Trafford was expecting the captain to step up after Juan Mata was fouled inside the box after half an hour.

However, it was in fact Pogba who took the ball and dispatched the spot-kick - even with a slightly bizarre run-up.

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And just two minutes later, the home side were given a second opportunity to score from 12 yards after Martial was tripped.

Cue the supporters begin to sing Rooney's name - urging him to take it - but once again he stepped aside and allowed Martial to put in an equally emphatic penalty.

It also surprised BT's punditry team of Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves, who discussed both penalties.

FBL-EUR-C3-MAN UTD-FENERBAHCE

They also examined some very interesting footage of the conversations between Rooney and each eventual penalty taker.

It shows that the United and England captain was all set to take the first spot-kick before Pogba persuaded him to let the French international step up.

The exact reasoning is unclear but the most likely explanation was given by Hargreaves, who believed Rooney wanted to boost Pogba's confidence.

"Now he's the captain though isn't he? Pogba's struggling for confidence and momentum, don't you think..." Hargreaves said before presenter Jake Humphrey interrupted with the equally good point surrounding Rooney's own confidence.

If Rooney had taken and scored both of tonight's penalties, he would sit just one goal behind Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time goal-scoring record at Old Trafford.

And given his reduced playing time in the Premier League currently, it is surprising he would pass up such an obvious opportunity to close the gap on the Man United legend.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Robin Van Persie
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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