Football

Ashley Young falls victim to his own diving success

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Ashley Young's reputation as a serial scammer of referees precedes him. His elaborate tumble in the box against Crystal Palace definitely warranted the yellow card that was issued by Jon Moss at Old Trafford on Saturday. But, talk of a retrospective ban for the Manchester United winger is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

After he later won a penalty for the Premier League champions - which prompted the sending off of Kagisho Dikgacoi - the England international has come into criticism for his theatrically fraudulent foul play, which helped set David Moyes's side on their way to a comfortable 2-0 victory over the ten-man Eagles.

It wasn't Young's fault that Dikgacoi was the last man, and prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity - an infringement that by the letter of the law, left the official with no choice but to produce a red card.

Nor was the 28-year-old to blame for the referee and linesman's inability to spot that the tangle had in fact started outside the box, meaning that a free-kick - and not a penalty - should have been awarded to Manchester United.

The failings surrounding the controversial penalty that followed the earlier act of simulation, seem to have clouded people's judgement of Young, and the various punishments that have been suggested are, on the whole, overstated.

His devious first-half dive - following a separate challenge from Dikgacoi - was correctly penalised with a caution, and that should be the end of it. Talk of a five-game suspension, as has been suggested by former referee Graham Poll is an entirely over-the-top reaction.

The mandatory red card policy for all diving players - put forward by an understandably frustrated Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish on BBC Radio 5 Live - is another equally ludicrous proposal.

The likelihood is that Young will be reprimanded further by Moyes, after the Red Devils boss criticised the midfielder for his latest display of duplicity.

"I've always said I don't like diving," reflected the Scot after the game. "Ash has put his leg into the lad's leg. The boy definitely puts his leg out and, rightly so, he deserved to get booked.

"I don't want my players diving. I don't want anybody doing it. I'll definitely say to Ash it's not what I want."

Young has also been previously lectured by Sir Alex Ferguson about his tendency to dive, who took it upon himself to try and rid the growing amount of disdain being shown towards the repeat offender.

The former Aston Villa star's character will be blemished even further following the latest incident, which clearly showed Young jutting out his leg to make sure there was contact with the Crystal Palace midfielder, before throwing himself to the ground.

But, isn't this wily tactic all part of the game, successfully serving up more controversy by its mere presence? Stripping players of the artistic license to cleverly con officials into awarding - or not awarding - free-kicks and penalties would make the Premier League boring.

Young is the master of deceptive diving, although he was caught out and condemned this weekend. Since August 2006, he has won 12 penalties in the Premier League - the joint-most of any individual in the division. He should be celebrated, not faulted, for giving us all something to talk about the following morning.

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Topics:
Ashley Young
Manchester United
Football
Premier League

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