Was it a dive, or wasn’t it a dive? That’s been the burning question ever since the moment Wayne Rooney went down…we’ll call it, easily…to win a penalty late on in Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth round victory over Preston North End on Monday.
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Rooney raced into the Preston penalty area with only goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann still to beat. When Stuckmann slid in feet-first to win the ball, the German ‘keeper’s challenge failed to win the ball but also made no contact with Rooney whatsoever.
Rooney, as we all know by now, flung himself to the ground and appealed for a penalty. Despite the video evidence, plenty of Man United fans have had Rooney’s back in the days following the incident, but it appears it’s all been for naught, as Rooney himself admitted to Stuckmann he had conned the ref into given the penalty.
Stuckmann, on Rooney’s apology, from The Sun on Wednesday:
“After the game Rooney told me: ‘Sorry, it was my chance to get a penalty. I had to use that.'”
“I say it clear: That was no penalty. I also believe that if the situation had happened the other way around, one of our strikers against the United keeper, the ref wouldn’t have given the penalty. I have no doubt about that.”
Rushing to Rooney’s defense, surprisingly, was Preston manager Simon Grayson, who flat out said, “It wasn’t a dive.” Grayson explained his viewpoint by saying, “He’s gone to get out of the way and taken evasive action.” Just when we thought we’d found a resolution, somebody goes and casts doubt over the entire situation again.
Dive? No dive? Fair? Foul? You be the judge.