Belfast Telegraph

John Hartson clarifies his position over Taylor on Coleman horror tackle

By Robert Jones

John Hartson has hit back after receiving a lot of criticism from Republic of Ireland fans for apparently defending Neil Taylor following his tackle on Seamus Coleman.

After paying tribute to the Republic's performance, he clarified his position on the incident.

Coleman is lying in a hospital bed, facing a lengthy recovery from a double-leg break.

The Republic captain's second-half injury was one of two particularly reckless challenges, coming moments after Gareth Bale lunged at John O'Shea.

Former Wales striker Hartson said: "It wasn't a classic. I think Ireland did enough to win a game of football, considering the onus was on the Welsh.

"I thought there were some really strong challenges going in. I thought Gareth Bale should have been sent off.

"For those Irish fans who have absolutely slaughtered me on Twitter all day today, it's great for me to come on here to set the record straight - I never defended Neil Taylor. All I said was I didn't feel it was intentional, because I don't think anybody goes on the pitch with a view of breaking an opponent's leg.

"I think that is not acceptable, and I don't think it's the case here. It's reckless, it's rash, it's all them strong words - it's a horror tackle. And Neil Taylor will face criticism, he'll face a ban no doubt, and he has to live with the fact that he could have possibly ended another player's career."

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