Savage: Money rather than penalty squabbles upset a dressing room more

Kevin Mirallas Belgium

Robbie Savage was giving his experience as a player following on from the penalty scenario that featured for Everton in their draw against West Bromwich Albion.

Former Premier League footballer, and current BT Sport and BBC pundit Robbie Savage has been commenting on things that are more damaging in a team's dressing room than whoever takes a penalty.

Savage was writing his column in the Daily Mirror after Monday night's game between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park. Kevin Mirallas took the ball of regular Everton penalty taker Leighton Baines and missed from the spot, ultimately costing the Toffees victory as the game finished 0-0.

Mirallas's act was branded as despicable by Gary Neville, but Savage has suggested that money could be a more divisive factor in the dressing room. 

He said: "In my experience, finding out that team-mates earn more than you is always a bigger risk to dressing room spirit than arguing over who takes a penalty.

"For managers trying to bring new faces into their squads - in many cases, newly-promoted teams fighting to establish themselves in the Premier League - all the extra money that comes with playing in the top flight can be a double-edged sword."

Savage suggested it could galvanise Everton, and commented that manager Roberto Martinez publicly said he was fine with the situation - apart from the penalty not ending up in the back of the net. 

"Manager Roberto Martinez says he had no problem with winger Mirallas - who had played brilliantly at West Ham the previous week - stepping up, and Baines did not seem inclined to get involved in a public squabble.

"So if the Toffees' manager and captain were OK with it, Everton will have to live with the consequences."

With Everton not in the FA Cup this weekend, their sole focus on the domestic front is the Premier League. Monday night's result left them in 12th place, four points above the relegation zone, with a crucial game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next weekend. 

They have been in Qatar for warm weather training as they aim to improve their season and ease fears around the club. A gap of nearly two weeks, you'd think, would focus the minds on their crucial trip to South London. 

There has been a lot of talk surrounding Mirallas's future at the club as well, with the Belgian saying he'll discuss his future at the end of the season, so it will be interesting to see how he is used between now and the end of the season.

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