Aston Villa's Ashley Young Not a Diver, According to Boss Martin O'Neill

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIJanuary 2, 2010

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Ashley Young (R) of Aston Villa is fouled by Anthony Vanden Borre of Portsmouth during the Carling Cup quarter final match between Portsmouth and Aston Villa at Fratton Park on December 1, 2009 in Portsmouth, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has defended one of his star players, Ashley Young , and blasted Premier League officials over their treatment of Young this season.

The 24-year-old without doubt has phenomenal talent, and has been instrumental for the Villans since signing from Watford back in January 2007 for £9.75million.

However, his tendency to simulate fouls (or so it appears) hasn't gone down well with the referees, and as his club manager fears, is starting to give him a reputation as a diver.

In recent times, Young was cautioned in a recent 3-0 defeat against Arsenal for theatrically tumbling over a challenge from Alex Song.

Although, replays suggested he was forced to take evasive action to avoid being clattered, and quite possibly injured.

It's a fact not lost on O'Neill, who told SkySports : "To book him for that (the aforementioned incident) was utter lunacy—it was crazy.

"Is Ashley going to do three somersaults in the air and come down and potentially land on his head so he can get a foul?

"He doesn't perform acrobatics, so for the referee to say that is simulation is beyond belief.

"I am not sure Ashley has that reputation but if other referees think that is a dive then it will get the notion into other people's heads.

"Ashley Young gets very close to players who are going to get a foot in and get a touch - that is an art.

"He has been up-ended about four times recently and has not been booked but he has not got the foul in incidents which have later been shown clearly to be fouls in the last seven weeks.

"What happens, because the referees haven't given it and we play on, is the notion that he is feigning it.

"Because very little was said about it referees will gather and think it was a dive.

"But I have never told a player if there is a possibility of going down in the area to do it.

"Unfortunately referees are worried about being castigated the next day as there are 37 cameras at games.

"They get this notion in their head not to miss decisions but that one was nonsense.

"Referees should just go and referee the game and not be too concerned about who is in the stand.

"They should apply some common sense and not book someone who tumbled into the air and landed down head first and could have injured themselves."