Ashley Young: just don't call me a diver, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!
When even Aston Villa fans are turning on Ashley Young, calling him a diver and a cheat, you'd think the player would perhaps acknowledge that maybe he goes to ground fairly easily. Or at least, not crow about how the accusations of his diving hurt him more than the bruises he gets from being fouled in every match.
Setting aside whether Ash is a diver or not, the question is, why does it matter so very, very much? Why is it that accusing a player of going to ground easily the absolute worst thing you can do, the biggest insult you can throw at an English player? How is it that those who go studs up into tackles, who argue every call with the officials, who throw elbows when the referee isn't looking...why is it that those players are applauded for their "passion" and "dedication", whereas a player who merely falls down is derided, accused of being a cheat?If we're being honest there, all those situations are considered cheating. But to go to ground to win a free kick -- or even worse, a penalty -- is seen as being the most horrible of horrible offenses. Perhaps it's because it gives your team a free chance at goal (although to be fair, much of the time this season, Young the Greater sent his shots sky high, not actually taking advantage of such free opportunities). Perhaps it's because it's considered "weak" -- real footballers should stay on their feet.
Whatever it is, English supporters -- and the media -- need to get over their obsession with diving. It may be cheating, yes, but it's a risk that sometimes pays off. Just like a handball, just like a rash challenge to save an attacker going through on goal. Going to ground rather than battling to maintain possession after a foul often creates a situation in which it's much more likely that the player will be able to score. And what supporter doesn't want those rewards?