Townsend: I took a dive
Andros Townsend has vowed to cut diving out of his game after revealing that he apologised to referee Mike Dean for taking a fall during Tottenham's derby with Chelsea.
Gareth Bale's superb season was tainted by accusations of diving last year, and Townsend - one of the men charged with filling the void left by the Welsh star - also found himself at the centre of a play-acting storm this weekend.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho also criticised Townsend's Spurs team-mate Jan Vertonghen for what he claimed was an over-reaction to an aerial collision with Fernando Torres which led to the Chelsea man being sent off for what was deemed a second bookable offence.
Townsend played superbly in Spurs' 1-1 draw with Chelsea, but he blotted his copybook in the first half when he feigned being tripped by Frank Lampard.
Dean rightly booked Townsend and the 22-year-old admitted after the game that he was wrong to dive.
"It was definitely a yellow card. I deserved it," the Tottenham winger said.
"You make mistakes and that dive was a mistake. I apologised to the ref. I said to him at half-time that I thoroughly deserved it and hopefully I won't do that again.
"I have got to kick it out of my game."
Given that so many players refuse to acknowledge that they actually dive, Townsend's words are refreshing to hear.
The midfielder was accused of simulation when he won a penalty against Swansea earlier this season, but the youngster insists he is not a prolific diver.
Townsend says that just like Bale, he sometimes has to go to ground because of his express pace.
Explaining his thought process when he cut inside Lampard and fell to the turf, Townsend said: "It goes so fast, I came inside and I saw (Lampard's) leg and I went over and he pulled (his leg) out at the last minute.
"I didn't have time to react to that. It's sort of instinct. People said I dived against Swansea, but if you are running that fast, with any little touch you are going to go over."
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas did not feel the need to talk to Townsend about the dive, and what the onlooking England manager Roy Hodgson made of the matter is unknown.
With Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both sidelined through injury, there is a chance that Townsend could make his England debut against either Montenegro on October 11 or the World Cup qualifier which follows it against Poland four days later.
Mindful of Townsend's probable selection, and his young age, Lampard tried to play down the incident after Saturday's game.
"I don't want to criticise too much," the Chelsea midfielder said.
"He's so quick that I was just pleased he fell over rather than carry on running.
"Maybe he was waiting for contact and it didn't come and he fell over...but you get a yellow card and carry on.
"We don't need to turn it into a diving campaign because that would get legs very quickly.
"He's a great talent and he's going to be a big player for Tottenham and for England."
Hodgson is likely to have been impressed by Townsend's overall performance against the Blues.
The winger gave Ashley Cole a torrid time down Spurs' right flank and he would have had an assist had Paulinho beaten Petr Cech rather than rattle the frame of the Chelsea stopper's goal in first-half injury time.
Villas-Boas feared Townsend's international career could be a flash in the pan, but Hodgson gave the midfielder some words of encouragement after his first call-up last month, and all being well the player looks to feature heavily in the England manager's plans.
"He said to me that he had been watching me not only this season, but when I was on loan at QPR last season," Townsend said.
"He told me that if I continue what I am doing I will get in the squad so that is what I am going to try to do.
"But I'm just concentrating on Spurs at the moment. It's hard enough getting in this team!"