David James: Gary Neville 'was doing my head in' before Euro 2004 loss

‘He was doing my head in!’: David James reveals Gary Neville FOLLOWED him around before England’s Euro 2004 shootout defeat against Portugal… and claims Paul Pogba was doing it to David de Gea before Man United’s penalties against Villarreal

  • David de Gea was Manchester United’s villain in their Europa League final loss 
  • The Spaniard did not make a save in the penalty shootout before missing himself
  • David James claims Paul Pogba made De Gea ‘not confident’ in the team talk
  • The ex-goalkeeper claims Gary Neville did a similar thing to him at Euro 2004
  • Neville responded with a puzzled face emoji to James’ comments on Monday 

David James claims David de Gea was ‘not confident’ in Manchester United’s Europa League final penalty shootout loss to Villarreal as Paul Pogba was making him nervous in the team talk.

The former England goalkeeper then recalled Gary Neville making him feel a similar way before the Three Lions lost to Portugal on penalties in the Euro 2004 quarter-final. 

De Gea failed to make a single save in the shootout despite every single Villarreal taking a spot kick, including opposition goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, before missing his decisive 12-yard effort to lose the final for United. 

David James says Paul Pogba had a negative influence on David de Gea in Manchester United’s penalty shootout loss to Villarreal in the Europa League final

De Gea failed to make a single penalty save before missing his own spot kick as United lost

James claims Pogba was trying to motivate De Gea before the shootout but ended up making him nervous, something former United defender Neville did before their penalty shootout together 17 years ago. 

The ex-goalkeeper 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…

James claims Paul Pogba (middle) made De Gea (second right) more nervous in a team-talk

James claimed Gary Neville made him nervous in a similar way before a Euro 2004 shooutout

‘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.”‘

Neville provided a reaction to James’ comments on Monday by posting a puzzled face emoji on Twitter in response to the story.  

James also failed to save a penalty at the Euro 2004 last-eight shootout but did manage to force Portugal forward Rui Costa to blast his effort over the crossbar.

England went out of the tournament when David Beckham and Darius Vassell both failed to convert their efforts, leaving Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo with the winning spot kick to send his side through. 

James (far right) said Neville (second left) was ‘doing my head in’ when trying to motivate him

England crashed out of the Euro 2004 quarter-finals as Portugal won their penalty shootout

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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