Roy Hodgson has launched a strong and surprising defence of Jamie Vardy after the Leicester City striker received a red card and an improper conduct charge following events at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Vardy was sent off by referee Jon Moss after receiving two contentious yellow cards in an explosive 2-2 draw against West Ham.
With Leicester leading 1-0 at the time and cruising towards a sixth straight victory, the 29-year-old's dismissal dramatically changed the game. Needless to say, Vardy was less than impressed with the decision and launched an expletive rant at Moss before eventually leaving the field.
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The Football Association have since charge Vardy with improper conduct, meaning they could extend his one-match ban, leaving Leicester's title challenge in some danger.
But Hodgson, himself a direct employee of the FA, has stuck his neck on the line to defend the England international, saying Vardy's was nothing more than a human reaction.
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England boss Hodgson said: “He has called him a few names but he is human and that can happen. He has reacted like some human beings react.
“He hasn’t just said to the ref ‘That’s all right, I understand’ and shakes hands. I sympathise with him, I think he was very, very unlucky. When you get sent off for something where he obviously feels like I feel, there is no doubt he is of that opinion.”
Dive or no dive
While Leicester fans have been vocally questioning both yellow cards handed to Vardy, it is the second that has drawn the most debate, given to him for simulation.
Vardy was adjudged to have gone down too easily under pressure from Angelo Ogbonna, but replays appear to show plenty of contact between the two. Hodgson, however, believes Moss was wrong.
He added: "You take everything that the player brings with him. You take Wayne Rooney - he, in my recollection, was pretty hot-headed, often getting himself into scrapes on the field, but you take what the player brings.
“Vardy got sent off but once again I will go out on a limb: I don’t see that as a dive I think he was unbalanced, running at speed.
"I think there was a very slight sort of contact with the defender, who was trying to cover. I think he went down, he lost his balance. I don't think he was trying to dive.
"But of course all the pundits I hear they say, 'He dived, look how he dived'. I don't see it. I really don't, I'm sorry. I wouldn't blame him for that."
The sending off will see Leicester without Vardy for Sunday's game against Swansea City, but if found guilty of his FA charge, he could also miss their next game against Manchester United.
Vardy has until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge.
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