Ashley Young is all too aware of the ongoing criticism he receives for his numerous alleged diving offences, but he doesn't appear ready to apologise.
The Manchester United midfielder has stated it is the officials and not the players who should be under increasing scrutiny, but remains confident any decisions made in his favour this term have been correct.
David Anderson of the Mirror reports the controversial United man saying:
It’s been talked about obviously by the previous manager and the current manager, but that’s in-house. I’m not going to comment on what’s been said. I don’t take notice of the headlines or the debates. That’s obviously for the media to debate, for people to have their say - and everyone is entitled to have their say on it.
For me, the referees have made decisions and that’s it. I think it’s one to ask the referees. They’re the ones who are giving free-kicks and penalties. I remember getting booked against Palace and then winning a penalty. Against Real Sociedad, it was another penalty that was given. Referees have got tough decisions to make. They have a tough, tough time out there making decisions, but they have made the right decisions, I think.
Young is correct in some of his assessment. Officials should be considered more culpable when it comes to cases of simulation. After all, they are required to be sure of their decision when awarding penalties.
As BBC Sport states, one innovation called for by UEFA chief Michel Platini is to replace yellow cards with sin bins. The idea would discourage players from entering the referee's notebook, lest they spend the next 10 minutes on the sidelines.
It just so happens that Young's rising reputation for making a meal of challenges against him coincides with a sharp decline in production levels, too, as 101 Great Goals on Twitter shares:
If he’s not diving he’s missing! Ashley Young wastes two glorious 1-on-1 chances (Manchester United 1 – Shakhtar 0) http://t.co/QikXAgZVKH— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) December 10, 2013
Making just three Premier League starts this season, the 28-year-old has one assist to his name, and even that came as a result of his perceived exaggeration against Crystal Palace.
Young hasn't featured in back-to-back league matches since September, but is adamant he was oblivious to any sounds of applause as he came off the pitch against Shakhtar Donetsk, per Anderson's report:
I didn’t hear that. To be honest, I think you always have a bit of criticism now and then. It’s how you take it and I’m a positive person. I always want to play well and go and show the fans how I can play. The fans have been brilliant since the day I came here.
Needless to say, the Old Trafford faithful will need as much convincing as anyone else when it comes to Young, with David Moyes again reported by ESPN as having spoken to his player regarding his diving tendencies.
Manchester United's 2013/14 season has been a disappointing development for the large part under Moyes, and it's due to darker aspects such as Young's diving that fans are growing disillusioned at the Theatre of Dreams.