Manchester United legend Roy Keane had a thing or two to say about England’s senior players like Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling for not putting their hands up for that last penalty kick.
It was 19-year-old Bukayo Saka who stepped up to take the final spot kick in the shootout and unfortunately for the youngster, it was saved by Donnarumma.
Even though Gareth Southgate has admitted that it was his decision but Roy Keane has claimed that Jack Grealish or one of the other experienced players should have stepped up and stood ahead of Saka in the queue.
“If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and watch a kid walk up ahead of you, you can’t,” Keane said on ITV, as quoted.
“You can’t sit there and go ‘I see a young kid, 19-year-old, a child, walking up in front of me, and I’ve played a lot more games, I’ve got a lot more experience’.
“Sterling, who has won a lot more games, won trophies. Gareth might have been thinking he’s going to be six or seven, you can’t sit there. That must be hard to take, you’ve got to go to this young kid and say I’ll step up before you’.”
Jack Grealish not to blame?
Jack Grealish has received a fair bit of slack from the fans for not taking responsibility but the Aston Villa man has now come out to defend himself claiming that he had asked his manager to be one of the spot-kickers.
Grealish wrote on Twitter: “I said I wanted to take one!!!!
“The gaffer has made so many right decisions through this tournament and he did tonight! But I won’t have people say that I didn’t want to take a peno when I said I will…”
I said I wanted to take one!!!!
The gaffer has made so many right decisions through this tournament and he did tonight! But I won’t have people say that I didn’t want to take a peno when I said I will… https://t.co/3mBpKyMoUV
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 12, 2021
It seems like Gareth Southgate had the final call regarding which players are going to step up for the penalty kicks but he, of all people should know the pressure of missing from the spot.
Even Jose Mourinho has blasted the England boss for letting a youngster take the penultimate kick in such a crucial final, a decision which might have scarred Saka for a long time.
He told talkSPORT, via Metro: “On the decisions of the penalty takers, I think it’s hard to leave Saka as the last one.
“But for Saka to have the destiny of a country on his shoulders… I think it’s too much.
“We can speak about the previous days and how they were amazing at taking penalties, but the problem with penalties is it’s one thing is to take one in training and one thing to take in a match.
“And for those situations, there is no way to train them properly because you can’t train with the real pressure, it’s something you only feel in that moment.
“Poor Saka, I just feel very sorry for him.”
Yes, Bukayo Saka has been great throughout the tournament but when someone like Jack Grealish is ready to step up, the manager should immediately have tilted towards the safest option.
Firstly, Southgate took ages to bring Jack Grealish onto the pitch and now it’s clear that he also blundered in choosing his best five players for the shootout.