Former Manchester United star Roy Keane on Sunday night slammed senior England players like Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling for not leading from the front during their penalty shootout against Italy in the UEFA European Championship 2020 final. On Sunday, Italy was crowned the European champion following their win over England in penalty count (3-2) after the match ended in a stalemate in full time.
The Three Lions lost the summit clash after the 19-year-old Bukayo Saka’s crucial penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnraumma. Before Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have also failed in netting their penalty.However, despite missing the penalty, the Arsenal star had the sympathies of Keane, who believed that the senior England players should have stepped up on the occasion and take the pressure of the young winger.
“If you’re [Jack] Grealish or [Raheem] Sterling, you can’t have a young kid step up in front of you,” Keane told ITV as quoted by Daily Mail.The Irishman further insisted that he is not doubting the capabilities of Saka but the youngster should have been “six or seven.”
Keane was also in disagreement with England boss and his former Man United teammate Gareth Southgate’s selection of penalty takers. Criticizing Southgate’s strategy, Keane said that “sports science, data, you can’t replicate” the momentous occasion in the training session.
Meanwhile, according to former English star Gary Neville, the Three Lions penalty takers and their order must have been decided during practice “rather than be chosen on a volunteer basis.”
Neville, however, admitted that he was expecting to see Grealish or Sterling to take the shot ahead of Saka.
On the other hand, Former England striker Ian Wright reckoned that Rashford and Sancho were sent on the field in extra time with a penalty shootout in mind by Southgate.
Meanwhile, according to Frank Lampard, Sterling taking the penalty may not have been the best option for England. He also acknowledged that picking England’s penalty takers was a tough decision. Lampard also extended his greetings to Italy on their historic win.