Jack Grealish has hit back at Roy Keane after the ITV pundit suggested the England midfielder refused to take a penalty.
Bukayo Saka’s penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma to hand Italy victory as England lost in a penalty shoot-out with some pundits and fans questioning Gareth Southgate’s decision to allow a 19-year-old to take the decisive kick.
Keane was one to speak out on the decision but decided to criticise Raheem Sterling and Grealish for not taking the responsibility away from the Arsenal youngster.
“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 said on 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.”
But Grealish called Keane’s comments out and claimed that he wanted to take one but Southgate didn’t pick him.
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
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho was critical of Southgate’s choice to give Saka such a crucial penalty, he said: “The decision of the penalty talkers, 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].”