Jack Grealish insists he wanted to take a penalty during England’s penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Italy on Sunday night.
Grealish, as well as teammate Raheem Sterling, came in for criticism from Manchester United legend Roy Keane for seemingly allowing Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, to take a spot-kick ahead of him in the Euro 2020 final.
“If you’re [Raheem] Sterling or [Jack] Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid 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.”
Manager Gareth Southgate said the decision on the takers was his, but the Aston Villa playmaker still felt compelled to hit back at any thoughts he shied away.
He tweeted: “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…”
Jose Mourinho echoed Keane’s thoughts by expressing his disappointment that more established, senior players in the England set up didn’t step up and take a penalty ahead of Saka.
“The decision of the penalty takers, I think it is hard to leave Saka as the last one,” the legendary boss told talkSPORT.
“I think it’s too much for a kid to have everything on his shoulders in this moment, but I don’t know, I have to ask that question to Gareth because many times what happens is that players who should be there are not there, players who should be there, they run away from the responsibility.
“And because I feel Gareth is such an honest guy and is so protective of his players, I don’t believe Gareth would ever say if ‘Player A’ or ‘Player B’ ran away or hid or said they were not ready to take one.
“In this situation, where was Raheem Sterling?. “Where was John Stones? Where was Luke Shaw? Why didn’t Jordan Henderson or Kyle Walker stay on the pitch?
“Because in reality it’s very, very hard for Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to come and take a penalty after one touch on the ball.
“But for Saka to have the destiny of a country on his shoulders… I think it’s too much.”