England star Jack Grealish has angrily tweeted his thoughts on the penalty controversy, which has led some to accuse him of having “thrown Southgate under the bus” in a Twitter exchange.
The Aston Villa talisman has reacted furiously to Roy Keane’s comments and claims he wanted to take the penalty that eventually fell on 19-year-old Bukayo Saka’s shoulders.
Bukayo Saka missed from the spot kick, which led many to question why so much pressure was put on the 19-year-old youngster’s frail shoulders.
And former Manchester United captain Roy Keane had reactively commented: “If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid go up for a penalty ahead of you.”
This comment definitely didn’t sit well with Grealish, who tweeted out in anger: “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…”
While some England fans have flocked to Grealish’s defence for speaking up, others have opted to criticize him for this outburst.
One disgruntled fan tweeted: “Just threw Southgate under the bus lol.
“What was he saving you for Jack? Why is a 19-year-old who has never taken a penalty going before you or anyone else for that matter?”
And another added: “This was a very unnecessary tweet from him. Threw his manager under the bus and is probably going to be benched at the next tournament because of it.”
Grealish claims that he put himself forward for a penalty, and is undeserving of the harsh criticism of Keane.
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.”
Grealish only made a few appearances at this year’s Euros, with many criticising Southgate for repeatedly benching him, and this could be one way the pent-up frustration that had been building up throughout the tournament is finally seeping out, understandably, especially after being prodded and prompted by the pundit’s prickly comments.
Saka was clearly distraught and disconsolate after his spot-kick miss and had to be consoled by his manager and team-mates who rallied together to help ease his misery.
The other two players to miss their spotkicks were Manchester United signee-to-be Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who have, together with Saka, all since been the targets of vile racist abuse from online trolls.
However, many have leapt to Saka’s defence and said he should never have been put under that much pressure.
Gareth Southgate has previously defended his decision to assign responsibility to the young lads and accepts the fault lies with him.
The England boss said: “I decided on the penalty takers based on what we’ve done in training.
“Nobody is on their own. That’s my call and it totally rests on me.
“They were the best takers we had left on the pitch.”