“I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t take one.”
There has been plenty of controversy surrounding England’s penalty shootout defeat to Italy on Sunday night at the Euro 2020 final, and Jack Grealish’s comments before the tournament only add to the confusion.
Everyone in any way involved in football has had their say about what went on. Who should have taken a penalty? Who shouldn’t have? Who should have gone first? Who should have gone fifth?
Roy Keane was among the first to weigh in, where he specifically called out Grealish and Raheem Sterling for not choosing to take a penalty and allowing 19-year-old Bukayo Saka to hit the fifth shot, which ultimately lost England the Euros.
Keane said: “If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid (Saka) walk up ahead of you. You can’t sit there and see a child walking up.”
Grealish immediately hit back at Keane though, saying: “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.”
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… https://t.co/3mBpKyMoUV
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 12, 2021
Jack Grealish pre-Euro 2020 comments
Grealish claiming he did stick his hand up to take a penalty seems even more likely based on a conversation he had with Peter Crouch before the Euros started.
Crouch asked whether or not he’d be willing to take one if it came down to it, and Grealish replied: “I’ll take one, defo. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t take one.”
Based on Grealish’s two public statements about how willing he was to take a penalty, we can only imagine he didn’t take too kindly to being shelved in order to allow Saka to hit one.
A video emerged online seems to suggest that after Saka, Jordan Pickford was next up to take a penalty, and Kalvin Phillips was after him, so Grealish was obviously nowhere near Gareth Southgate’s plans.