David Moyes has refused to criticise Ashley Young after the United winger appeared yet again to dive in order to win a penalty last night against Real Sociedad, as United squandered three good opportunities to take a decisive step towards qualification in Group A.
In his latest attempt to usurp Tom Daley’s spot in Britain’s diving team, Young went to ground with customary ease five minutes after coming a substitute, when Sociedad defender Markel Bergara appeared to slightly pull his shirt after Young had played a quick one-two with Shinji Kagawa just inside the box.
However, the United manager, who had criticised Young for diving to win a penalty against Crystal Palace earlier this season, refused to condemn his player for winning the penalty – which Robin Van Persie then missed
“I have seen it [the penalty incident] again,” said Moyes. “The boy tugs him [Ashley Young] in the box. The referee is two yards away from it and decides to give it. He’s got a penalty kick for a decision tonight.
“I don’t know about his reputation but the referee is there and he gave it. The referee made decisions all night. He’s the one who saw fit to award a penalty and send a player off. I thought the referee made the decision and that was the referee’s choice.”
Young’s theatrical tumble was widely criticised by two former United players, Roy Keane and Ray Wilkins, who both covered last night’s game as TV pundits and accused Young of having conned Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli into awarding a penalty with his pathetic dive.
Speaking on ITV, Keano was customarily straightforward. “He’s obviously played for it,”said the new Republic of Ireland assistant manager. “If you are a Man United player and you see a player getting tugged back, you want him to go down.
“Ashley Young’s obviously gone down too much over the last few months. He’s been heavily criticised in England but we are in a foreign country and it’s more accepted.
“But he’s almost conned the referee there. If he scores the penalty, as a United player you would be delighted, but he’s conned the referee there.”
Ashley Young was also criticised by Ray “Stay on your feet” Wilkins, who told Sky Sports: “This [dive] is pathetic. This is as bad for me as all these over-the-top tackles we’re getting at the moment because that is a conning of the referee.
“I just wish Ashley would cut this out because he’s a good player but he’s getting a bad name.”
Sorry Ray, Ashley Young isn’t a good player and if he’s getting a bad name it’s because he’s worked long and hard to achieve such a reputation and it’s now time for him to take his theatrics to another club.
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