Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Diver Ashley Young's latest tumble brings shame on the famous Manchester United jersey

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Ashley Young of Manchester United goes to ground after a challenge from Kagisho Dikgacoi of palace befoe being booked for divingduring the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on September 14, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ashley Young has been at it again. There are toddlers taking their first steps in this world who stay on their feet longer than the Manchester United winger.

Maybe he's programmed to fall to the turf when he feels the slightest touch inside the opposition area.

Whatever, it does nothing for his reputation.

And having a bloke who dives better than Tom Daley in their team is certainly not the image United are trying to project.

Young's latest misdemeanour came against Real Sociedad in the Champions League on Tuesday night. He crumbled under minimal contact from Markel Bergara with Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli pointing to the spot.

Justice was done when the normally reliable Robin van Persie hit the post in the dull scoreless draw.

That didn't stop ex-United heroes having a pop.

Roy Keane claimed that Young's theatrical tumble had "conned" the official and Ray Wilkins labelled the player "pathetic".

Wilkins went as far to say that the diving was as bad as over-the-top tackles.

The thing is Young (pictured) has been falling far too easily for years. He did it at Aston Villa and has shamed the United shirt on a number of occasions since arriving at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson had a word with him about his behaviour.

Ditto David Moyes just a few months into his reign as United boss. After Young was yellow carded in September against Crystal Palace, Moyes said: "He deserved to get booked. I don't want any of my players diving. I will definitely say to Ashley that it is not what I want."

Good intentions David, but Ashley's not listening to you.

He's cheating the fans, the opposition, referees and his own club.

And you wonder when you are watching a youth game in your local park, why kids fall about with nobody near them. The appalling acts of Ashley Young gives you the answer with the 'if he can do it, so can I' attitude prevailing.

On the upside fewer players in the Premier League are being booked for simulation this season. Just five cautions – still five too many – have been issued for diving which leaves England's top flight a creditable fifth behind the other big European leagues in Italy, France, Spain and Germany on the yellow card count.

Serie A is the worst. Would you believe that in the 2012-2013 campaign, an incredible 89 bookings were dished out in Italy for going to ground too easily?

The Premier League finished second in the diving hall of shame with 34 bookings. Last season Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez were found guilty of the offence, but one has gone to Madrid and the other, for time being at least, has cleaned up his act.

It sounds crazy to say it, but perhaps United star Young should look at Liverpool striker Suarez and learn a thing or two.

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