Michael Owen 'can't believe' Wayne Rooney gave Pogba, Martial penalties
Michael Owen has questioned former teammate Wayne Rooney's decision to allow Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial to take penalties in Manchester United's 4-1 Europa League victory over Fenerbahce.
Pogba confirmed after Thursday's game that he had asked the United captain's permission to take the first spot kick for the 31st-minute opener, while Martial took the second three minutes later.
Owen, working as a pundit for BT Sport, suggested that showed that his former United and England teammate had lost the hunger he had when marking his debut for the club with a hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the same opposition in 2004.
"It grates with me a bit I must say," Owen said. "Twelve years ago this lad, playing against Fenerbahce, his first game ever for United, he ripped the ball off Ryan Giggs. He was telling senior players round here and he goes and scores a hat trick."
Fellow BT pundit Owen Hargreaves, who also played alongside Rooney for United and England, put it to Owen that the 30-year-old was the captain and wanted to help Pogba as the midfielder was struggling for confidence.
Owen responded: "Wayne Rooney's struggling for confidence!
"I agree with the captain side [of Hargreaves' argument] but if it's going to be like that then I think the captain shouldn't be a centre-forward because he is the goal scorer. He has to be the goal scorer."
Rooney is closing in on two United records, with Ruud van Nistelrooy their current leading all-time European goal scorer with 38 goals and Sir Bobby Charlton the club's leading scorer in all competitions with 249.
"If he scores his two pens, he's ahead of Ruud van Nistelrooy in the all-time European [chart], he's one behind Sir Bobby Charlton in the all-time [chart]," Owen, who spent three years at United, said.
"When he was younger he was nasty. He wanted to score. He was desperate. He gets a penalty, he should be all over it. I can't believe he's handed it over."
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