Trevor Sinclair claims Roy Keane accusing Jack Grealish of not wanting to take a penalty in the Euro 2020 final was a case of “sour grapes”.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed their spot kicks in the shootout as Italy overcame England.
Grealish was brought on to replace Mason Mount at the start of extra-time but Gareth Southgate opted against using him in his first five penalty takers.
But Keane criticised both Raheem Sterling and Grealish for just “sitting there” and allowing a teenager to take the crucial penalty.
“If you’re Sterling or Grealish you cannot sit there and have a young kid walk up ahead of you,” Keane said.
“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.”
Grealish took to Twitter to defend himself and insist he did put himself forward to take a penalty.
And Sinclair has come out in support of the Villa captain, insisting it wasn’t right for Keane to take aim at him without knowing the whole story and claiming it could be a case of “sour grapes”.
“As we all know, Roy Keane has got an opinion. But you can’t just accept that knowing it’s not the truth,” Sinclair said on talkSPORT.
“Roy Keane’s not privileged, we are not privileged at talkSPORT to know what was going on in those meetings when we’re talking about penalties.
“I believe Jack. I don’t think he’s a shrinking violet. He’s a player who steps up to the plate. When you want to make a name for yourself, that’s when you step up.
“I think with Roy Keane, with the fact Jack Grealish left the Irish squad, went to the England squad, I think there’s a little bit of sour grapes there personally.”
Rashford, Sancho and Saka were all subjected to horrific racist abuse in the wake of their missed penalties which has led to increased pressure on social media companies to better tackle online hate.
In a statement on Monday, the FA called on social media bosses to ‘step up’.
‘We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and are appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media,’ it said.
‘We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.
‘We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.
‘We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.
‘Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making the platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.’