Jack Grealish says he DID volunteer to take a penalty in England loss

‘I WANTED to take a penalty!!!!’: Jack Grealish reveals he DID volunteer but was not picked by Southgate – after Roy Keane slammed him and Raheem Sterling for letting teenager Bukayo Saka take the decisive spot kick

  • Roy Keane questioned why Bukayo Saka took a penalty over more senior players
  • The pundit expected Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling to step up before Saka
  • Grealish took to Twitter on Monday to insist he wanted to take a spot-kick 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

Jack Grealish has hit back Roy Keane after being criticised by the pundit for not taking a penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy.

Both Mourinho and Keane questioned why senior players, including Grealish, weren’t taking a penalty in the shoot-out for England after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and 19-year-old Bukayo Saka missed from the spot.

And Grealish responded on Twitter, saying: 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…’

Jack Grealish has hit back at suggestions he might not have wanted to take an England penalty

Grealish took to Twitter after Roy Keane queried where senior players were in the shoot-out

Roy Keane was scathing of England’s senior players for not protecting Saka in the shootout

Keane offered his sympathy for Saka, who missed the decisive spot-kick, and questioned why other England players didn’t step up.

‘If you’re Grealish or Sterling, you can’t have a young kid step up in front of you,’ the former Republic of Ireland and Manchester United captain told ITV. 

‘You can’t sit there and say “I see a 19-year-old kid walk in front of me, when I’ve played a lot more games, a lot more experience…” and Sterling, who has won trophies.

‘I’m not saying he wasn’t prepared, he might have been (penalty taker) six or seven, (but) you can’t sit there. It must be hard to take. You’ve got to get in front of this kid and say “listen, I’m gonna step up in front of you”.’

Grealish, 25, was one of boss Gareth Southgate’s go-to players from the bench throughout the tournament and started only one match in the 1-0 win against Czech Republic.

Gary Neville added that he too expected Sterling or Grealish to take a penalty before Saka.

‘When we saw Saka walk up we probably expected to see Grealish or Sterling go up first before him,’ Neville said.

‘But they would have looked at who’s missed, when, who’s taken one. Grealish hasn’t taken one in two seasons. So obviously there’s something wrong there with his penalty taking. And Gareth will have looked at that and brought (on as substitutes) the boys most likely to score, in his mind.

‘They would have worked out over the last few weeks in camp, done sessions on it, looked at who’s scoring the most and got the best record. It would be scientific, it would be data-led.

‘Marcus does everything right apart from the important thing. That one (Sancho’s) you’d argue is a poorer pen. They’re always getting saved when the goalkeeper goes that way. This one (Saka’s) as well really. He’s such a great goalkeeper and when he goes that side he’s got a great chance of saving it, he’s so big.’ 

Grealish (left) watches on as England crashed to defeat in the Euro 2020 final with Italy 

Bukayo Saka, 19, saw his penalty saved by Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma

Saka is consoled by his England team-mates after his crucial penalty miss led to Italy winning

Keane disagreed with his former United team-mate Neville, saying: ‘I’m intrigued about when they say people would have planned for this with sport science, data… you can’t replicate this.

‘You can’t replicate walking up in a huge final in front of your supporters with a huge goalkeeper in front of you. As Mike Tyson once said: “everyone’s got a plan until they’re punched in the face.” You’re facing a giant of a goalkeeper. Make the keeper save it, hit the target, but you can’t replicate this, Gary. For all their plans it didn’t work.’

Keane’s sentiments were echoed by Jose Mourinho on talkSPORT on Monday, but the Roma manager didn’t name Grealish as a player who should have stepped up.

Mourinho said: ‘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?

‘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.’


Jose Mourinho (L) gave his damning verdict of Bukayo Saka (R) taking the decisive penalty

Southgate explained after the game that it was his decision to select Saka as one of the penalty takers over the more experienced players in his squad.

‘That is my responsibility,’ Southgate said. ‘I chose the guys to take the kicks. I told the players that nobody is on their own in that situation. We win and lose together as a team. 

‘They have been tight throughout and that’s how it needs to stay. It is my decision to give him that penalty. That is totally my responsibility. It is not him or Marcus or Jadon. We worked through them in training. That is the order we came to.

England manager Gareth Southgate took responsibility for the line-up of penalty takers

Italy lift the trophy to celebrate winning the Euros for the first time since 1968

‘What they have to know is none of them are on their own. We win and lose as a team. Penalties are my call. We worked in training. It’s not down to the players. Tonight it hasn’t gone for us. We know they were the best takers we had left on the pitch. Of course it’s going to be heartbreaking for the boys but they are not to blame for that.

‘(Saka’s) not on his own. He’s such a super boy. He’s been a star and he’s going to continue to be a star. We’ve got to be there to support and help him. He’ll get a lot of love from outside because of what he’s done in this tournament.’

On his gamble of introducing Rashford and Sancho for the shootout without having any other time on the pitch, Southgate said: ‘That’s always the risk you run but they’ve been by far the best in the lead-in. To get all those attacking players on you have to do it late. It was a gamble but if you gamble earlier you maybe lose in extra time anyway.’ 

KEANE AND NEVILLE’S VIEW…

Roy Keane has also criticised England’s senior stars – in particular Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish – for not leading by example by taking a penalty kick in their shootout defeat by Italy.

England lost the Euro 2020 final after 19-year-old Bukayo Saka missed the crucial fifth and final spot-kick, following earlier misses by Marcus Rashford, 23, and Jadon Sancho, 21, to see the Three Lions defeated 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The Arsenal starlet had to score to keep England’s hopes alive but he saw his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Roy Keane had sympathy with the winger though, insisting more senior players should have stepped up instead to take the pressure off him. 

‘If you’re Grealish or Sterling, you can’t have a young kid step up in front of you,’ the former Republic of Ireland and Manchester United captain told ITV. 

‘You can’t sit there and say “I see a 19-year-old kid walk in front of me, when I’ve played a lot more games, a lot more experience…” and Sterling, who has won trophies.

‘I’m not saying he wasn’t prepared, he might have been (penalty taker) six or seven, (but) you can’t sit there. It must be hard to take. You’ve got to get in front of this kid and say “listen, I’m gonna step up in front of you”.’

Former England right-back Gary Neville though insisted that England’s order of takers would have been based on performance in practising penalties in training rather than volunteering.

‘When we saw Saka walk up we probably expected to see Grealish or Sterling go up first before him,’ Neville added.

‘But they would have looked at who’s missed, when, who’s taken one. Grealish hasn’t taken one in two seasons. So obviously there’s something wrong there with his penalty taking. And Gareth will have looked at that and brought (on as substitutes) the boys most likely to score, in his mind.

‘They would have worked out over the last few weeks in camp, done sessions on it, looked at who’s scoring the most and got the best record. It would be scientific, it would be data-led.

‘Marcus does everything right apart from the important thing. That one (Sancho’s) you’d argue is a poorer pen. They’re always getting saved when the goalkeeper goes that way. 

‘This one (Saka’s) as well really. He’s such a great goalkeeper and when he goes that side he’s got a great chance of saving it, he’s so big.’


Rashford and Sancho react in horror after seeing their penalties fail to hit the net




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