Tuesday 20 January 2015 10:19, UK
Gary Neville says if Kevin Mirallas went against team orders to take a penalty in Everton's 0-0 draw with West Brom on Monday Night Football, the action is "despicable".
Despite Leighton Baines being Everton's main taker and missing only one Premier League penalty in his career, Mirallas took it upon himself to take a spot-kick against West Brom just before half-time, before missing the target.
If he (Mirallas) has done what I think he's done, gone against team orders, manager orders, and selfishly taken the ball, it's one of the most despicable breaches of team orders you can possibly have. You do not do that at any cost.
Mirallas did not reappear for the second half as Everton boss Roberto Martinez instead introduced Bryan Oviedo, but Neville accepts Martinez's explanation that the Belgian was "not 100 per cent" and "feeling his hamstring" for the second period.
Neville said on Monday Night Football: "If he's done what I think he's done, gone against team orders, manager orders, and selfishly taken the ball, it's one of the most despicable breaches of team orders you can possibly have. You do not do that at any cost.
"Leighton Baines, not the most confrontational type of lad, he's the type that has probably said: 'go on then, if you're confident'.
"But what usually happens in dressing rooms is your free-kick takers, penalty-takers are usually listed."
Martinez said after the game he had no problems with Mirallas taking the penalty, particularly as he scored in the shoot-out defeat by West Ham last week in the FA Cup.
The Spaniard also claimed he wanted fresh legs in the second half, and that Mirallas wasn't moving freely after the penalty.
Mirallas' team-mate Steven Naismith echoed Martinez's words, but TV replays showed some of the other Everton players, particularly fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku, point to Baines for Mirallas to give him the ball.
Neville said of Martinez's comments after the game: "I think [Martinez] is in a difficult position. We've got to read between the lines. They're in a professional environment in a very difficult job.
"You have to respect the manager in trying to protect his players."
Everton struggled to break down West Brom throughout the game, and are now without a win in all competitions in eight matches.
And Jamie Carragher, also speaking on Monday Night Football, agreed that Martinez could not villify his player.
"He's got to say that. He can't come out and villify his own player. In reality if you're the manager, you've got to keep everyone on board, that's what managers have to do," he said.
"Craig Bellamy did it once at Liverpool, missed a penalty, and Rafa Benitez actually fined him after the game, in the League Cup at Birmingham.
"[Baines] is one of the best penalty-takers in the league. The pressure [Mirallas] is putting on himself taking it, the pressure is huge anyway, and if you're not on it, you know there's going to be ruptions afterwards if you miss.
"It doesn't matter how well you've been playing, you don't take the penalty off the taker.
"It takes you back to kids football - whoever gets the ball first takes the penalty, like 'bagsy'."