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.’