• World Cup

Keane claims England young-guns underperformed

ESPN staff
July 6, 2014
Despite his criticism of Roy Hodgson's young selection, Roy Keane defended Wayne Rooney's contribution © Getty Images

Roy Keane has hit out at England's young stars and accused them of underperforming for Roy Hodgson during the nation's disastrous World Cup campaign.

England largely disappointed in Brazil and they finished bottom of their group with one point, following defeats to Italy and Uruguay and a draw against Costa Rica. As a result, England's world ranking is set to plummet.

Keane, who in May claimed England would flatter to deceive when he sat alongside captain Steven Gerrard as a pundit, believes Hodgson's decision to pick inexperienced players backfired.

"I said England would struggle but that's not football knowledge, that's just common sense," Keane said. "If you look at the squad, they should have done enough to get out of the group. The players didn't perform.

"We played Costa Rica last month and if you had told me then they would top the group I'd have said you were mad. If I look at the England squad and the players then a lot of them still lack vital experience. Whether it's Champions League experience or big-game experience.

"A lot of those players are yet to win a trophy and yet people still expect them to go to the World Cup and reach the quarters or semi-finals.

"People are ranting and raving about the younger players but they still have a lot to do. We can argue all day about winter breaks and all the rest of it, but the fact is they should have done better."

However, Keane disagrees with former Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes' assessment that Wayne Rooney is past his best.

Rooney drew criticism for his performance in England's opening World Cup defeat to Italy, despite being played out of position to accommodate Raheem Sterling. Keane, though, is not convinced Rooney is on a downslope.

"If you think Wayne Rooney's gone, then you are sadly mistaken," Keane said.

"I thought he did OK. I'm sure he will feel that he should have done better. Top players are quick to look at themselves."

Keane was recently named new assistant manager at Aston Villa.

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