Keane hits out at Sterling and Grealish after Euro 2020 final defeat

Roy Keane has taken aim at Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish for shirking penalty taking duties in the crucial shootout with Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Neither player stepped up to take one of England’s spot kicks despite still being on the field as Gianluigi Donnarumma’s save from teenager Bukayo Saka won the trophy for Italy.

Both Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho had been brought on as late substitutes in extra time but the former saw his strike hit the post, while Donnarumma was equal to Sancho’s tame effort.

It was a crushing end to England’s inspiring journey to the final, but Keane was less than impressed by the more experienced Sterling and Grealish for failing to put themselves forward.

Roy Keane laid into Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish for not taking a penalty

“If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you can’t sit there and have a young kid walk up ahead of you,” Keane blasted on ITV. “You can’t sit there and see a young kid, 19, shy, and I’ve played a lot more football than him, a lot more games, a lot more experience.

“Sterling who has won trophies, I’m not saying he wasn’t prepared – Gareth might have been thinking you’re sixth or seventh – you can’t sit there, that must be hard to take.

“You’ve got to say to these young kids, ‘listen, I’ll step up before you’.”

In contrast to Keane’s comments, England boss Gareth Southgate insisted the choice of who took the penalties rested solely with him and he was to blame for his side falling short after they practiced and planned as best they could for the eventuality.

“We prepared as well as we could for the (penalty shootout), that’s my responsibility, I chose the guys to take the kicks,” Southgate said.

“That’s my decision to give him that penalty, that’s totally my responsibility. It’s not him or Marcus or Jadon, we work together, we work through them in training, that’s the order we came to. That’s my call as a coach.”

But Keane was quick to dismiss Southgate’s ‘plan’, suggesting it is not something that can ever be prepared for,

“You know what I’m intrigued about, when people say they would have planned for this: spot science, data, you can’t replicate this, you can’t replicate a player walking up in a huge final in front of supporters, huge goalkeeper in front of you,” he said.

“As Mike Tyson said, ‘everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face’. You’re facing a giant goalkeeper.

“Rashford will be disappointed because we always say ‘make the keeper save it. Hit the target. But you can’t replicate for a night like this. For all their plans it didn’t work.”

Gary Neville replied: “Oh absolutely but it isn’t the case when at the end of a game like it used to be ‘right, who wants one?’ It’s a lot different than that. The goalkeepers know exactly where the other players are taking them.

“We saw Saka walk up and we probably expected to see Grealish or Sterling go up first before him.

“But they will have looked at who missed where. Jack Grealish hasn’t taken one for two seasons, so there’s obviously something wrong there with his penalty taking.

“Gareth will have looked at that and put the boys forward that he felt had the most likelihood to score in his mind.”

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