Ashley Young, part-time winger, full-time diver – at least if the last two weekend’s matches are anything to go by. In each game, first against Queens Park Rangers and then former club Aston Villa, Young has ‘gone down easy’ to win Manchester United a crucial penalty. The seventh and eighth penalties Young has won this season.
Last weekend, against QPR, Young hit the deck after the mere brush of Sean Derry’s outstretched hand. True, the QPR midfielder made contact and, as such, a foul was committed, but was it enough to bring the £18 million signing down? Then on Sunday, against former club Villa, Young tumbled once again – this time over Ciaran Clark’s outstretched leg. There was less debate about the merits, or otherwise, of the foul, but Young’s theatrics won him few friends.
Yet, as many have opined on Twitter and other social networks, Young’s behaviour is not the ‘United way’, where diving has never been accepted. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson took the unprecedented step of admonishing his player in public after the Villa game when questioned if Young was now gaining a reputation for diving.
“Yes. In the last week or two, yeah. I’ve never seen that in him, it’s not a habitual thing in him,” claimed Ferguson.
“He was brought down, he just made the most of it. I think he played for the penalty. If the player decides to put his foot in and doesn’t stay on his feet and read the situation, he has fallen into the situation. But he’s definitely taken him. It was a dramatic fall. He overdid the fall, but it’s a penalty, there’s no doubt about that and I don’t think they can have any complaint because he has taken him.”
Yet, the real question is whether you, the United fan, can accept Young’s behaviour? After all, the winger has earned United goals over the past week at the same time as drawing a rash of negative headlines.