Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher says John Egan was “unlucky” to be given a red card against Aston Villa on Monday night.

Egan was sent off during the 1-0 defeat at Villa Park for apparently pulling down Ollie Watkins. The defender was deemed to be the last man by Graham Scott.

It was a decision that annoyed Blades manager Chris Wilder, who also felt Matt Targett should have been sent off for Villa.

Targett tripped Chris Basham in the six-yard box and was given a yellow, with John Lundstram missing the resulting penalty.

In terms of Egan, Gallagher thinks it might have been a slightly harsh call.

“I think the VAR felt that, regarding what had been fed back by the referee and the images he was watching, it wasn’t a clear and obvious error based on the referee’s judgement, therefore there was no need to go across to the screen,” the 63-year-old told Sky Sports.

“If he had gone across to the screen, he may have made a different decision – no one knows.

“The decision itself? He’s desperately unlucky to be sent off, Egan. Because the ball travels so far in the air, Egan and Watkins are grappling together; it starts on the halfway line and it continues.

“I think Egan is unlucky. On another day it could have been a free-kick either way on the halfway line.”

John Egan no, but was Matt Targett’s a red card?

Aston Villa v Sheffield United - Premier League
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Targett remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes as the Villans scored a 63rd winner through an Ezri Konsa header.

Wilder thinks the left-back didn’t make a genuine attempt for the ball, but Gallagher disagrees.

“I think it’s a penalty – but I don’t think it’s a red card,” the Irishman continued.

“Targett is looking to flick the ball away or guide it out of play. He’s clipped Basham’s ankle but it’s not one where you wouldn’t say he’s not made a genuine attempt to play the ball and under ‘double jeopardy’ it was decided the punishment would be too great to send Targett off.”

What it does mean is Egan will be suspended for this weekend’s Yorkshire derby with newly promoted Leeds United.

In his absence, it’s likely either Phil Jagielka or Ethan Ampadu will come into Wilder’s defence.

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