Dougie Freedman understands why players go to ground
DOUGIE Freedman is standing up for players who do not always stay on their feet in the modern game.
The issue of diving has been in the news again this week following Manchester United winger Ashley Young’s caution for “simulation” during his team’s 2-0 victory over Freedman’s former side Crystal Palace last weekend.
Later on that day, Wanderers’ slight wide man Rob Hall was also involved in a similar incident in the home defeat to Leeds.
In United’s case, new manager David Moyes has publicly revealed he has spoken with Young following his team’s win about going to ground too easily.
The England winger has earned something of an unwanted reputation in recent seasons – he was also castigated by former Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson following a similar controversial grounding against QPR in 2011/12.
But Freedman does not believe there is any intent to cheat with either Young or his own fledgling star Hall, and reckons the pace of the modern game plays its part.
He is of the opinion wingers should lift themselves off the ground to avoid challenges that could hurt them at pace.
And he does not want them to change their game and diminish the excitement.
The Scot is not advocating diving but understands why players would try to evade challenges.
Freedman said: “I’ll stick up for them.
“Fans and managers are the same, when they (wingers) get the ball it’s a case of ‘get at him, run at him’.”
“These players are quick these days. That’s why I don’t play anymore.
“They are going at 100mph and they are taught to ride a tackle to stop themselves getting kicked. It hurts, believe me.
“If your feet are planted and you get kicked it’s very sore. But if you lift yourself off the ground an inch, you can ride the challenge.
“Ashley Young, (Wilfried) Zaha – even young Rob Hall – these wingers ride tackles and sometimes they do it too much and it looks like they are diving.
“They are just protecting themselves and I strongly believe in that.
“Rob is a very light lad and he doesn’t want to be taking clumps from defenders so he rides tackles.
“He never has the intention of diving. I don’t think players are brought up that way.”