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Whelan laughs off Vieira tackle as English FA to act

REPUBLIC of Ireland midfield lynchpin Glenn Whelan has been counting the cost of his clash with Patrick Vieira which has earned the Frenchman a violent conduct charge, but it could have been a lot worse.

"Maybe if I was bigger down there it would have hurt a bit more," laughed Whelan after Vieira's reckless challenge.

"The referee said he hadn't seen it. I said to the ref and to Vieira himself that he'd been lucky but you just have to get on with it."

The former Arsenal captain, who has made just two starts since joining Manchester City last month, must answer a charge of violent conduct after appearing to kick Whelan between the legs on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old was no stranger to the English FA or disciplinary action during his nine years at Arsenal, accumulating 100 bookings and 10 red cards before joining Inter Milan in 2005.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis was enraged that referee Alan Wiley took no action after Vieira appeared to kick out following a challenge by Whelan.

The English FA have since studied replays of the incident and yesterday brought a charge against the Frenchman.

Vieira, who could face a ban if found guilty, must decide today how he intends to plead.

Similar cases of the English FA taking retrospective action have seen Stoke's Robert Huth and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand banned in recent months. Pulis referred to the Huth incident as he called for "parity" after Tuesday's game.

"We had a player given a three-game suspension after an incident a couple of months back," he said.

"There were incidents in the first half with Man City players where I think it is as bad if not worse."