Mourinho, Keane hit out at Southgate for choosing Saka as the last penalty taker

Jose Mourinho and Roy Keane hit out at England manager Gareth Southgate for choosing Bukayo Saka as the last penalty taker.

Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Gareth Southgate of England UEFA Euro 2020 Final
Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Gareth Southgate of England UEFA Euro 2020 Final / IMAGO

England lost to Italy in the European Championship final, with the youngster Bukayo Saka missing the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

England succumbed to a defeat in the Euro 2020 finals against Italy as the Three Lions missed three penalties in the shoot-out.

Gareth Southgate has been criticised following his decision to allow youngster Bukayo Saka to take the last penalty in the shoot-out, with the Arsenal man eventually being denied by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Now, AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho has questioned Southgate’s decision, insisting that an experienced player should have taken the penalty.

Mourinho said: “The decision of the penalty talkers, I think it is hard to leave Saka as the last one. I think it is hard for a kid to have everything on his shoulders at that moment. I just feel very sorry for him.

In this situation, where was Raheem Sterling, where was John Stones, where was Luke Shaw?

“I feel that Gareth is such an honest guy. Such a protective coach of his players. I don’t think he would ever say players were not ready (to take a penalty).”

Perhaps, Italy won the shoot-out 3-2 while both of England’s substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, failed to convert their penalties.

Roy Keane slams Three Lions senior players for ducking out of the penalty duties

Roy Keane has also weighed in on England’s penalty fiasco, taking shots at the senior players for not stepping up in the shoot-out and instead allowing a teenager like Saka to take the decisive penalty.

Keane pinpointed Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling as he felt the duo should have taken the onus in the shoot-out.

“If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you can’t sit there and have a young kid walk up ahead of you. 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’ve got to say to these young kids, ‘listen, I’ll step up before you.”

Southgate admitted post the defeat that the decision of the penalty takers is his while accepting the complete responsibility of the defeat.