Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Ashley Young's diving 'worse than Luis Suarez', says former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann

Under fire: Ashley Young has come in for strong criticism

Former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann has branded Ashley Young "worse than Luis Suarez" over his diving antics.

Young has found himself at the centre of more unwanted attention over the past 24 hours after winning Manchester United a dubious penalty against Real Sociedad on Tuesday night.

Not even Robin van Persie's failure to convert the spot kick has saved Young from the ire of his fellow professionals.

Former United skipper Roy Keane claimed the winger had "conned" Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli, whilst another ex-Red Devils captain Ray Wilkins was equally scathing in his assessment of Young's reaction to the faintest of touches from Markel Bergara, who was booked for the contact.

Hamann has gone even further, claiming Young has even eclipsed the behaviour of Suarez, who has been castigated for diving in the past, including a damning assessment by David Moyes prior to last season's Merseyside derby last October.

"Ashley Young is much worse than Suarez has ever been," Hamann said.

"It's blatant cheating to try to win a penalty.

"I'm always defending players," he added.

"Gareth Bale got a lot of stick last year but you've got to be very careful, because sometimes it's about protecting yourself in anticipation of a challenge.

"If someone comes to clatter you, your first instinct is to jump in order to protect yourself.

"(With Young) there was no protection (issue), it was a slight touch on his arm and he started rolling over."

Unlike earlier in the season, when Young initiated contact with Crystal Palace's Kagisho Dikgacoi to try and win a penalty and was promptly booked by referee Jon Moss, the fact there was contact on this occasion did give the United man an excuse to go down.

However, while plenty of players have earned their teams an advantage is such dubious situations, Young's reputation – he was twice accused of diving during his debut campaign with United in 2012 – means his conduct will be analysed to a far greater degree than many fellow professionals.

"I just think it's in him," said Hamann.

"It will be very hard for him to cut out. It's gone too far now," he added.

"Manchester United, with their reputation, shouldn't need to dive and cheat to win a football match.

"I would say to Young, 'if you want to stay in the game for the next 10 years, you've got to cut that out'.

"He'll end up not getting decisions any more."

It remains to be seen how Moyes responds when he faces the media again.

The Scot's initial reaction following Tuesday night's game was to defend Young, highlighting the fact there had been contact and pointing out Rizzoli's proximity to the incident.

However, Moyes has taken a hard line on diving in the past and pledged to speak with Young following the Dikgacoi furore to explain diving had no place in his vision of the game.

United host Arsenal on Sunday in a Premier League blockbuster.

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