Former Leeds star furious as ex-Premier League referee reviews Newcastle United penalty calls vs Manchester United

There was controversy at Old Trafford as Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United were denied a penalty.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher believes Newcastle United should have had a penalty in their draw at Manchester United - but confusingly stated on-field official Craig Pawson was right to make his decision.

There were ten minutes on the clock when the Magpies looked towards Pawson after Callum Wilson looked to be upended by Red Devils defender Raphael Varane as he burst into the area. The former Bournemouth striker went to ground and immediately appealed for a penalty - but his protests were waved away by the referee and his assistants.

Many onlookers felt VAR official Jared Gillett would step in and advise Pawson to review his decision against awarding the penalty - but play was allowed to continue and Newcastle were left to rue another frustrating episode with a referee’s decision.

Former World Cup official Gallagher offered a somewhat confusing explaination, telling Sky Sports News: “I don’t think the referee thinks it’s a foul.  He thinks they come together.  If he gives a foul, it won’t be overturned by the VAR.  I think this is all about the referee on the day.  If the referee gives a penalty, they’ll stick with it.

“In this incident, the referee doesn’t give a penalty.  In certain decisions there has to be an on-field decision and this is a classic example.  I do think it’s a foul, but I think it’s an on-field penalty.  Don’t forgot the tolerance level for VAR isn’t the tolerance level with the referee on the field. For the VAR to intervene, he’s got be convinced the referee has made a clear and obvious error.”

His description of the incident was met by a rebuke by one pundit in the Sky Sports News studio

“Callum Wilson is the most blatant penalty I’ve ever seen,” retorted former England and Leeds United defender Danny Mills.

“I don’t understand how you’re watching the Callum Wilson one and you don’t see a foul if you’re going back and saying the tiny little tug on Fabinho is a foul. He steps across him, he doesn’t play the ball, that’s 100% a foul. There is no other decision other than a foul in my opinion.  I don’t understand how VAR doesn’t go ‘it’s a foul, simple as that’.”

Newcastle also felt they should have had a penalty when Dan Burn seemed to be held by Varane later in the first-half but Gallagher once again backed Pawson’s judgement.

“You also see he’s got hold of Varane and it also starts outside of the box,” he said.

“If he’s going to give a free-kick, he’s going to give it outside of the area.  I think both are grappling so the referee lets it go.”