“There’s no doubt that Gareth is nasty enough to make those decisions.”
Roy Keane has praised Gareth Southgate’s decisiveness after the England manager substituted Jack Grealish in Wednesday night’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark.
Grealish came off the bench with 20 minutes of normal time remaining, replacing Bukayo Saka and making an immediate impact by winning a number of fouls.
But Grealish didn’t see the full-time whistle as he was taken off again midway through extra-time, when Southgate brought on Kieran Trippier in anticipation of more Danish pressure.
The decision made Grealish just the third English player in recent history to be subbed on and subbed off in a match at a major tournament, and it was praised by Keane.
“He is a nice guy, but you have to be nasty to work at this level, so it was no surprise when Gareth made that decision,” Keane told ITV.
Roy Keane praises Southgate’s Jack Grealish decision
“Jack will have to look at the bigger picture. It’s all about the team getting to the final. There’s no doubt that Gareth is nasty enough to make those decisions.”
Southgate addressed the Grealish decision after the match and insisted that the Aston Villa talisman had no problem with being withdrawn.
The England manager revealed what Grealish said after the Three Lions secured a place in Sunday’s final against Italy thanks to Harry Kane’s extra-time goal.
“Raheem [Sterling] was causing so many problems all night it had to be Phil [Foden] or Jack coming off, it was not an easy decision,” Southgate said, via Eurosport.
“We still needed to get that pressure up the pitch. We sank a little bit too deep for five minutes or so.
“In the end Jack said, ‘I’m not really bothered, we made the final!’ He had the impact we wanted in the game.”