Eagles won't pay penalty

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

CHRIS Eagles will not be told to step aside the next time Wanderers win a penalty.

Despite the winger missing his second successive spot kick at Huddersfield, Dougie Freedman sees no reason why he should not retain penalty duties if he wants to keep them.

In-form Eagles quickly shrugged off the disappointment to score a sublime second goal for his team 10 minutes from time at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Unfortunately, it did not prove to be the winner – but Freedman reckons penalty taking is all about bravery, a quality he does not think is lacking in the former Manchester United man.

Asked whether he would step in to change his penalty taker, the Whites boss said: “It’s not a question for me to answer because Chris Eagles has got a bigger pair of stones than me.

“If he thinks he should take the next one then it’s up to him.

“The big thing for me is that Chris has missed one opportunity and played wonderfully well but then steps up with a goal, which tells you a lot about his character.”

Freedman was full of praise for the football his side produced on Saturday but in particular for his midfield trio of Eagles, fellow goalscorer Mark Davies and Chung-Yong Lee, who came back into the team for David Ngog.

“I don’t think they have been playing as well all season,” he said of Eagles and Davies, “Definitely looking at the DVDs of the games that have been played.

“I also thought Chungy was outstanding today – he played really, really well.

“I’m really happy as a manager with what I am seeing, the shape of things, I felt we defended well and attacked with the right amount of numbers, it was just in the end we were very unlucky not to have won the game. There are plenty of positive points.”

Huddersfield snatched a point at the death when Alan Lee set up fellow sub James Vaughan three minutes from the end.

The goal coincided with Matt Mills limping off with a hamstring injury and Tim Ream coming on as a substitute – but Freedman refused to make the American defender a scapegoat.

“What caused us a problem is that, with 10 minutes to go, losing a centre half upsets the rhythm and flow of the unit,” he said. But it is very hard to go on as a centre half and there is no blame culture at all here.”

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