FORMER REPUBLIC of Ireland international Kevin Doyle has defended Raheem Sterling against accusations he dived for England’s controversial penalty against Denmark.
The Manchester City star was accused of simulating contact from a Danish defender to win the Three Lions a crucial spot-kick in extra-time.
Harry Kane’s penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel but the Tottenham striker tucked away the rebound to give England a decisive 2-1 lead.
Though English fans celebrated long into the night, many pundits and neutrals on social media expressed dismay at what they saw as a clear case of cheating by Sterling.
Doyle rebuffed those accusations though, arguing that it was impossible for Sterling to stay on his feet because of the physical pressure being exerted by the two Danish defenders closing in.
The former Reading and Wolves striker, who scored 14 goals in 62 appearances for Ireland, took to Twitter to outline his explanation.
Sterlings right knee gets clipped followed by a hip barge from the other side….how is that “not touched”? try staying on your feet while sprinting with a ball and that happens pic.twitter.com/6LsSVxkaJd
— Kevin Doyle (@KevinDoyle1983) July 7, 2021
He tweeted: "Sterling's right knee gets clipped followed by a hip barge from the other side….how is that “not touched”? Try staying on your feet while sprinting with a ball and that happens."
Doyle shared a video showing a close-up version of the collision and the evident contact made of Sterling that prompted him to fall.
His argument stands in stark contrast to that of another ex-Ireland star, Roy Keane.
Keane told viewers on ITV: “I don’t think it’s a penalty… very, very soft.”
His former Manchester United teammate, Gary Neville, concurred,, saying: “If we’re being fair, you’d be absolutely devastated if you lost to a penalty like that.”