Sport Soccer

Thursday 26 April 2018

It's up to referees to deal with diving -- Young

Ashley Young reacts after missing a chance to score for Manchester United during the final game in their Champion's League goup against Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford
Ashley Young reacts after missing a chance to score for Manchester United during the final game in their Champion's League goup against Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford

Mark Ogden

Ashley Young has admitted to speaking to both David Moyes and Alex Ferguson about his reputation as a diver, but the Manchester United winger insists unapologetically that the issue must be addressed by referees rather than himself.

Young, who returned to the starting line-up for the first time in six weeks against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, has become the focus of the diving debate this season after controversial incidents against Crystal Palace and Real Sociedad, which led to United being awarded penalties as a result of the 28-year-old going to ground.

With former United manager Ferguson revealing in his recently published autobiography that he dropped the England international as a result of similar issues two years ago, Young has earned an unenviable reputation for diving, with opposition -supporters, and a growing section of United fans, targeting the player with jeers and taunts from the terraces.

However, while Young concedes that he has been spoken to by both Moyes and Ferguson about the issue, he believes he has no charge to answer. "It's been talked about obviously, by the previous manager and the current manager, but that's in house," Young said. "I'm not going to comment on what's been said.

DECISIONS

"But I think it's one to ask the referees -- they are the ones who are giving free-kicks and penalties. I remember getting booked against Palace and then won a penalty later in the game.

"Against Real Sociedad, it was another penalty that was given. Referees have tough decisions to make, they have a tough time out there making decisions, but they have made the right decisions I think."

Despite finding himself in the eye of the storm following the alleged dives against Palace and Sociedad, Young claims that he is unfazed by the negative publicity.

"I don't take notice of the headlines or the debates.

"That's obviously for the media to debate and people to have their say on it, but for me, the referees have made decisions and that's it.

"Of course I understand what you're saying (about gaining a reputation) and everyone is going to have their say on it. But I've spoken to the previous manager and current manager, the referees are giving decisions and that is where I think it lies."

Whether by fault or design, Young's spell out of Moyes' team in recent weeks coincided with the controversy generated by the penalty won by the player during the Champions League match with Sociedad last month.

The former Aston Villa forward has struggled to convince Moyes of his credentials as a first-team regular and has become a target for supporter unrest, with Old Trafford ringing out to ironic applause when he was replaced by Robin van Persie during the second half of the 1-0 victory against Shakhtar.

Young insists that he is unaware of losing the backing the United supporters, but he has vowed to prove his worth. "I didn't hear the applause," Young said.

"But to be honest, I think you always have a bit of criticism now and then and it's the way you take it.

"I'm a positive person. I always want to play well and go and show the fans how I can play and the fans have been brilliant since the day I came here. We want to do well for them.

"Obviously it's been disappointing that I've not been involved as much as I would have liked. Every player in the squad wants to play every game and I'm no different to that.

"I was involved against Shakhtar and in a few other games this season, but I've had a period where I've not been involved.

"I'm a player who always wants to play each game and if I can give the manager a headache in training then it's his decision whether I play or not."

If Young starts against his former club at Villa Park on Sunday, it will be the first time since mid-September that he has been selected for successive games by Moyes.

Since that time, Young has fallen out of the England squad, having started all four games at Euro 2012, but he says he remains hopeful of convincing Roy Hodgson to take him to Brazil next summer.

"You always want to play in the biggest tournaments, whether that's at club level or international level. So of course, I want to be on that plane. But I don't think there's a player who has been involved in the squad that doesn't want to be on the plane.

"Right now I'm not thinking about the World Cup, I'm thinking about playing for United. I've started against Shakhtar and hopefully when the manager picks the team again I can be involved again."

Meanwhile, Young insists the players have to take responsibility for United's recent poor form.

Moyes has tried to shoulder the blame for his misfiring players by saying he took "complete responsibility for the results."

But Young thinks the whole squad has a duty to improve results.

"Of course. We are the players who go out on the pitch," he said. "Everyone is in it together; manager, staff and players. We win together, we lose together." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport