Jack Grealish has hit back at Roy Keane after the former Manchester United star accused the England midfielder of not wanting to take a penalty during last night’s Euro 2020 final shootout.
The Aston Villa talisman had been used sparingly by Gareth Southgate before the tournament, but was eligible to take a spot kick having been introduced as a second half substitute at Wembley against Italy last night.
Despite his relative seniority in terms of age, Grealish was not among England’s first five penalty takers and it was left to the likes of international rookies Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka to try and hold their nerves from 12 yards.
Ultimately, that pair, along with Marcus Rashford, buckled under the pressure and Keane accused Grealish, as well as Raheem Sterling, of shirking their responsibilities as a senior player.
He said: ‘If you’re Sterling or Grealish you cannot sit there and have a young kid walk up ahead of you.
‘You can’t sit there and see a young kid, 19, a child walk up in front of me when I’ve played a lot more games, and got a lot more experience.’
“They’ll have worked all of this out over the last few weeks in camp – they’ll have done sessions on it… it will have been scientific and data-led.”
ð£ @GNev2, @IanWright0 and Roy Keane reflect on @England’s penalty shootout defeat to Italy#ITAENG | #ITVFootball | #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/rC1hFXh8Vm
Grealish, however, insists he did want to take a penalty, but the decision on who would take the first batch of spot kicks was made by England boss Gareth Southgate.
He 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.’
Southgate, meanwhile, accepted the blame for Saka’s miss revealing he made his mind up on who would take penalties based on how the players had performed in training
He said: ‘That is down to me, I decided on the penalty takers based on what they have done in training and nobody is on their own.
‘We have won together as a team and it is on all of us together to not be able to win the game tonight and in terms of penalties it is my call and it totally rests with me.’
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