Footballers shouldn't hesitate to celebrate goals against their former clubs

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Football News

There seems to be an unwritten rule in professional football, whereby a player who scores against their former side should show 'respect' and not celebrate.

This debate emerged once again last week when Liverpool's James Milner was visibly demonstrative following his goal against Manchester City at Anfield.

What exactly the Englishman's celebration meant - he waved his arms in the air as if trying to lasso something - is unknown, but City fans were naturally displeased by his actions.


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The question remains, then - should players celebrate against their former employers?

We've seen it many times before, where a player holds their hands up or simply walks back to his own half upon scoring against an old side.

Robin van Persie did just that when he found the net against Arsenal for the first time since joining Manchester United - not so on the second and third occasion.

Naturally, former players cop a lot of abuse upon their returns - so why shouldn't they show the very same lack of respect back to fans who once chanted their name?

Frank Lampard refused to celebrate his goal for Manchester City against Chelsea, neither did Denis Law when his goal for the Citizens sent old club United into the first division some 40 years ago. These were special cases, though.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Emmanuel Adebayor, who ran the length of the pitch to taunt Arsenal fans after scoring for City (there's a bit of a theme picking up here).

Every player is different, as is every situation, and it's difficult to understand what goes through players' heads when they find the back of the net upon their return to a former club, but they have every right to celebrate and should (like Milner, below).

By no means should Adebayor's reaction be advocated, but celebrating in a dignified fashion shouldn't be frowned upon, nor should the player feel guilty for it - they're just doing their job.

Scoring a goal is a huge and exhilarating moment. Milner's celebration brought a sense of outrage, but why should he be criticised for expressing his emotions? Perhaps 'Boring James Milner' isn't so boring after all.

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