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Saka failed to convert his decisive spot-kick as Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his attempt to clinch the Euro 2020 title.
The 19-year-old bravely stepped up after Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho fluffed their lines from 12-yards.
He took a penalty ahead of the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish because of his brilliant conversion rate in training.
That's according to the Daily Mail, who claim some England players were stunned that a teenager had been put in a position to determine the outcome of their biggest match since 1966.
Saka had never previously taken a penalty at senior level, with his only experience of spot-kicks coming in youth-team games.
Though Southgate based his decision on who performed in training last season as assistant coach Steve Holland kept results of their penalties.
The England team has been practicing penalties at every session since September.
Holland monitored and logged the results, creating a league table of penalty-takers.
Training sessions are also recorded so the players can review the footage.
What's more, the Three Lions boss also encouraged the players to take their time walking to the spot during penalty practice, in order to replicate the matchday experience.
The decision to let Saka take a penalty ahead of Sterling and Grealish did NOT sit well with ITV pundit Roy Keane, who pulled no punches in his assessment of England's shootout defeat.
He said: "If you're Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid walk up ahead of you.
"You can't sit there and see a young kid, 19, a child walk up in front of me and I've played a lot more games, a lot more experience.
"Sterling's won trophies, I'm not saying he wasn't prepared. Gareth might have been thinking you're going to be sixth or seventh. You can't sit there. That must be hard to take.
"You've got to get in front of this young kid and say listen I'll step up before you."
But the Aston Villa superstar hit back, claiming he wanted to take one.
He tweeted: "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
Featured Image Credit: PA
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