James Ward-Prowse defends moment of gamesmanship against Iceland 1 month ago

James Ward-Prowse defends moment of gamesmanship against Iceland

"That's cheating. I don't like that."

James Ward-Prowse has come in for criticism from former Manchester United captain Roy Keane for his injury-time shenanigans in Reykjavik.

There was not much to write home about England's 1-0 Nations League victory over Iceland, but Keane and Ian Wright still found something to argue about.

The best part of the entire affair, on Saturday, arrived in stoppage time as two penalties were awarded in the space of three minutes. Raheem Sterling dispatched his spot-kick but Birkir Bjarnason blazed over when he was afforded the chance to level matters.

Following the game, TV cameras picked up on England midfielder James Ward-Prowse scuffing up the penalty spot before Iceland's last shot at redemption.

While former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright lauded Ward-Prowse for having 'a bit of devil in him', Keane was not having a bar of it.

"That's cheating," he said on ITV's Nations League round-up.


"I don't like that. I disagree with it... it's not right, it's not allowed. It's cheating."

Wright countered that, if the Southampton star's actions got England to the next stage of the competition he would happily take it.

Keane's comments filtered back to Ward-Prowse as he was interviewed by reporters ahead of England's next game against Denmark.

"It wasn't any digging of the spot, it was more just delaying the penalty," the 25-year-old told Press Association.

"It was a bit of a mad few minutes for everybody.

"We'd just scored what we thought was the winning goal and then we faced the penalty, so it was more of a delaying tactic just for everyone to get their heads together and prepare for the penalty. Thankfully it went in our favour."

When reporters revisited the moment, Ward-Prowse insisted that he had not altered or damaged the penalty spot. He says he has no regrets in stalling Bjarnason in taking his kick, however.

Denmark lost 2-0 to Belgium on Saturday so they will be doing all in their power to get a positive result against Gareth Southgate's men when they meet, on Tuesday.