Jack Grealish responds to Roy Keane penalty criticism

Jack Grealish has responded to Roy Keane's criticism of him for not taking a penalty ahead of Bukayo Saka in England's shoot-out defeat
Jack Grealish responds to Roy Keane penalty criticism

James Cox

Jack Grealish has responded to Roy Keane's criticism of him after the pundit claimed he should have stepped up to take a penalty ahead of Bukayo Saka in England's Euro 2020 final shoot-out defeat to Italy.

Keane criticised Grealish and Raheem Sterling for not taking penalties ahead of Bukayo Saka in England's Euro 2020 final defeat.

Saka took England's fifth penalty and Gianluigi Donnarumma's save won the shoot-out for Italy.

While the Arsenal man was one of the stars of the tournament for England, plenty of fans and pundits have claimed it was unfair to place such pressure on a 19-year-old.

“If you’re (Raheem) Sterling or (Jack) Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid [Saka] go up for a penalty ahead of you, you can’t,” Keane told ITV.

“You cannot let a shy 19-year-old go up in front of you. They have a lot more experience, Sterling has won trophies, they had to get in front of the young kid and stand up.”

Grealish has since replied directly to the Manchester United legend's comments.

Responding to a Sky Sports article on Keane's comments on Twitter, Grealish wrote: “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…”

Speaking after the loss, England manager Gareth Southgate took responsibility for the penalty takers and order.

“That is my responsibility,” Southgate said. “I chose the guys to take the kicks. I told the players that nobody is on their own in that situation. We win and lose together as a team. They have been tight throughout and that’s how it needs to stay. It is my decision to give him [Saka] that penalty. That is totally my responsibility. It is not him or Marcus or Jadon. We worked through them in training. That is the order we came to.”

Keane felt there were a number of positives for England to take from their performance at Euro 2020.

“It was an amazing night, a brilliant night of football. I didn't think either team deserved to lose. Someone is going to miss a penalty, but this is not a night to criticise Gareth or the players who missed. Instead of criticising the players who missed penalties, I admire the players who stepped up.

“Both keepers made some brilliant saves and this is a tough night for England. They scored too early. Credit to Italy, they showed great belief, but England will learn from this. Sometimes you have to lose to eventually win. The World Cup is around the corner, and they have to grow from this.”

Keane added: “For all their plans in penalties, it didn't work for them. With a huge goalkeeper in front of you, it's not easy. As Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face. It's not easy in a penalty shoot-out.”

Bukayo Saka stands dejected after England's Euro 2020 final defeat. PA Images.

Jose Mourinho has also criticised the decision to have Saka take England's fifth penalty.

The Roma manager told talkSPORT: “The decision of the penalty takers, I think it is hard to leave Saka as the last one. I think it is hard for a kid to have everything on his shoulders at that moment. I just feel very sorry for him.

“In this situation where was (Raheem) Sterling, where was (John) Stones, where was (Luke) Shaw?

“I feel that Gareth is such an honest guy. Such a protective coach of his players. I don’t think he would ever say players were not ready (to take a penalty).”

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