It had been absent for a while, but the age-old diving argument has once again hit the headlines thanks to Manchester United winger Ashley Young.

Earlier in the season, the England international was widely criticised for going down too easily in the penalty area during his side’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

But despite being booked and widely condemned for his actions in the past, the 28-year-old does not appear to have learned his lesson.

He repeated the trick to win a spot-kick in United’s 0-0 draw at Real Sociedad last night, but in the end justice was done when Robin van Persie stepped up and fired his penalty against the post.

Young has been criticised by the likes of Roy Keane and Ray Wilkins for his latest antics, with the former United stars accusing the Englishman of conning referee Nicola Rizzoli.

Wilkins branded the dive as “pathetic”, but Red Devils boss David Moyes did not appear to agree with such a damning assessment.

“I have seen it again,” the Scot was quoted by The Guardian.

“The boy tugs him in the box. The referee is two yards away from it and decides to give it. I don’t know about his reputation but the referee is there and he gave it. The referee made decisions all night.

“He’s the one who saw fit to award a penalty and send a player off. I thought the referee made the decision and that was the referee’s choice," he added.

It is an intriguing reversal of opinion from Moyes, who condemned his player for diving earlier in the season.

But now Moyes seems to have changed his tune, controversially – and arguably hypocritically – coming out in support of his man.

Another player might have deserved the benefit of the doubt, but, given his history of simulation, it was evident that Young went down far too easily.

Moyes must surely recognise this and for that reason he should drop the winger until he cleans up his act. Blatant cheating should be condemned and certainly not ignored.

Young has been underperforming for some time now and is yet to score a single goal or deliver an assist in eight appearances this season – providing you do not include diving to win penalties as contributions.

So for now, the winger would be no great loss to United and he should perhaps take some time out to concentrate on improving his poor form rather than refining his play-acting.

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