Rashford’s penalty hit the post, while Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved the other two penalties.
“If you’re (Raheem) Sterling or (Jack) Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid [Saka] go up for a penalty ahead of you, you can’t,” said former Republic of Ireland international Roy Keane.
“You cannot let a shy 19-year-old go up in front of you. They have a lot more experience, Sterling has won trophies, they had to get in front of the young kid and stand up.”
Grealish took exception to that criticism, tweeting: “The gaffer [Southgate] 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.”
After the final, Southgate said that he had decided on the penalty takers based on the players’ performance in training.
“Nobody is on their own,” Southgate told the BBC. “We have won together as a team and it is on all of us together to not be able to win this game.
“In terms of penalties, it is my call and it totally rests with me. I decided on the penalty takers based on what they have done in training.”
But Southgate has also faced criticism given Sancho and Rashford were brought on as substitutes in the 120th minute, just before the shootout started.
That gave them little or no time to prepare for such a significant moment in the match, especially as England hasn’t won an international tournament for 55 years.
“In reality it is very hard for [Marcus] Rashford and [Jadon] Sancho to come and take a penalty after one touch of the ball,” said AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho.