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Michael Owen dismisses theory that Bukayo Saka was “too young” to take a penalty

michael owen bukayo saka

Michael Owen has given his view on Bukayo Saka penalty miss.

Michael Owen has dismissed a theory that Bukayo Saka was “too young” to take a penalty for England against Italy in the Euro 2020 Final on Sunday night.

Saka was one of three England players, along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, to miss their spot kicks in the shootout as Italy emerged victorious.

Michael Owen dismisses Bukayo Saka’s age as a factor.

While the trio have been the victims of online racist abuse, there has also been an outpouring of sympathy towards them, particularly Saka, who is just 19 years of age.

Some have said that the Arsenal winger was too young to step up in such a high-pressure moment, however, Owen has now dismissed this theory as “absolute b****cks.”

Taking to Twitter yesterday, the former England striker posted: “much to debate following Euro 2020 but I simply can’t have this ‘too young at 19’ theory to take a penalty. In fact, if my experiences are anything to go by it’s easier being young! Fearless, confident, no previous scars etc.”

Owen certainly is speaking from experience, having only been 18-years-old himself when he confidently dispatched a penalty in England’s unsuccessful shootout against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

However, it can be argued that Owen was coming off the back of a breakthrough season with Liverpool and in the same game against Argentina, he had already scored one of the most famous goals in England’s major tournament history.

Not one to forego any research, Owen then doubled down on his opinion, listing the ages of all of the England players who have missed penalties in major tournaments and it does make for interesting reading…

Average age of unsuccessful England penalty takers.

It should be stated that Owen has overlooked Jordan Henderson, who missed against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup at the age of 28, although England were actually successful in that shootout.

Based on Owen’s research, we took the liberty of calculating the average age of those who had missed penalties for England in shootouts before Sunday and it stood at 27.9 years.

The misses by Saka, Rashford (23) and Sancho (21) have now lowered that stat to 26.6 years.

Could someone else have stepped up?

Forgetting about Saka’s age for a minute, the fact that had never taken a penalty before at senior level should really have been enough for others to step up ahead of him.

Raheem Sterling has taken five penalties in his career, while Jack Grealish has already come out strongly against claims that he didn’t want to take one against Italy.

Luke Shaw, who scored the opening goal in normal time against Italy, took a successful sudden death penalty for Manchester United as recently as May’s Europa League Final.

Whatever the case, it’s yet another tale of penalty misery for England, who have now lost seven shootouts at major tournaments.

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