Raise your hand if you’re tired of Ashley Young.
You’re not alone.
It’s not that he’s a bad person – seems like a decent enough fellow – but for the love of Pete the man loves to dive.
It’s hardly even up for debate.
During the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in September, Young was booked for diving by referee Jon Moss before controversially going down a second time under the challenge of Kagisho Dikgacoi, who was sent off. Robin van Persie converted the spot-kick.
In the November 5th Champions League match at Real Sociedad, Young went down easy under the light challenge of Markel Bergara. That time, however, the ball didn’t lie (you have to love karma) as van Persie’s penalty smashed the woodwork.
But Young is hardly new to the game of crumpling under a stiff breeze. In April 2012 he went down in a 4-0 win over his former club, Aston Villa. That incident was so dubious that even the ultimate protector, Sir Alex Ferguson, couldn’t deny the gross nature of the offense calling it “a dramatic fall.”
One week before the Villa dramatics, Young managed to get Queens Park Rangers defender Shaun Derry sent off when he tumbled to the floor under a minimal challenge. Then R’s manager Mark Hughes was distraught: “The boy has gone over too easily and the referee has bought it unfortunately.”
With incidents of deceit piling high, Young was asked on Thursday if he recognizes his growing reputation for diving. “Of course I understand what you’re saying and everyone is going to have their say on it,” Young admitted, “but I’ve spoken to the previous manager and current manager, the referees are giving decisions and that is where I think it lies. It’s been talked about [to me] but that’s in-house. I’m not going to comment on what’s been said.”
Young’s recognition of his growing reputation is a good thing. But does he really care about his misdeeds?
Apparently not. “Referees have got tough decisions to make, they have a tough time out there making decisions, but they have made the right decisions I think.”
Defiant, Young claims he “[doesn’t] take notice of the headlines or the debates.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion, Young says, but “for me, the referees have made decisions and that’s it.”
In other words, Young views drawing penalties as a game and one that he excels at.
But the cat’s out of the bag on this man. And you can bet outrage will ensue Sunday at Villa Park if the 28-year-old takes a tumble in front of the fans who once adored him.