Jose Mourinho namechecked frequent target of his wrath Luke Shaw when questioning a key Gareth Southgate decision that cost England at the critical moment of Euro 2020.
England fought bravely in the Euro 2020 final versus Italy, but ultimately fell to the old spectre of penalties on the big stage. Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scores England’s first two, but that would be the last time Gianluigi Donnarumma would be beaten.
Brought on specifically to take penalties, Marcus Rashford hit the post before Jadon Sancho saw his effort saved.
It was then surprisingly left to 19-year-old Bukayo Saka to take the fifth penalty with the weight of the nation’s expectations on his shoulders ahead of more seasoned stars in the line-up. Unfortunately for he and for all with an England persuasion, Saka saw his spot-kick saved by Donnarumma.
That decision has been questioned by Mourinho, who namechecked Shaw along with Raheem Sterling and John Stones when querying why a teenager was tasked with taking the crucial kick.
“The decision of the penalty takers, I think it is hard to leave Saka as the last one,” Mourinho told talkSPORT.
“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 Sterling, where was Stones, where was 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).”
Mourinho assesses Qatar World Cup chances
“I believe that if you look forward and you know that you have a World Cup coming very soon there are only reasons to be optimistic. Move to the future with great hope. A lot of these players can be even better for the experience.
“I think people have to start looking at the England national side with different eyes and, for the next World Cup, England will be a strong contender.
“But at the same time I can imagine the frustration and sadness because it was closer than ever. To lose a final at home is very, very hard.”