Ashley Young has admitted that he’s well aware of having matured a reputation for diving but, while he understands the criticism, he has no intention to apologise for the controversial incidents that have seen him thrust under the spotlight this season.
The United winger came under intense scrutiny earlier this season as he was booked for diving against Crystal Palace, before subsequently winning an extremely soft penalty as Kagisho Dikgacoi, while another of Young’s theatrical tumbles earned United an extremely dubious penalty kick away at Real Sociedad.
Young’s willingness to go down at the faintest of touches is nothing new either, with the former Villa man being severely reprimanded for winning soft penalties against his former club and QPR two seasons ago, while Sir Alex Ferguson last season didn’t leave anything to interpretation when he claimed that Young is too eager to hit the deck.
David Moyes has also had a word with the former Villa man, whose performances have ranged from the appalling to the extremely poor this season, but Young says he has nothing to apologise for.
“Of course I understand what you’re saying and everyone is going to have their say on it, but I’ve spoken to the previous manager and current manager, the referees are giving decisions and that is where I think it lies. It’s been talked about [to me] but that’s in-house. I’m not going to comment on what’s been said.
“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 won a penalty. Against Real Sociedad it was another penalty that was given. Referees have got tough decisions to make, they have a tough time out there making decisions, but they have made the right decisions, I think,” he told the Guardian.
Young, however, insisted his game hasn’t been affected by criticism. “I don’t take notice of the headlines or the debates,” said the United winger. “That’s obviously for the media to debate and people to have their say on it and everyone is entitled to have their say on it. For me, the referees have made decisions and that’s it.”
“You always want to play in the biggest tournaments, whether that’s at club level or international level,” he said. “So of course I want to be on that plane. Right now I’m not thinking about the World Cup, I’m thinking about playing for United. Obviously, it’s been disappointing I’ve not been involved as much as I would have liked. Every player in the squad wants to play and I’m no different to that but it’s up to the manager, so I’ve just got to keep doing the things that are right in training and take my chances when I’m given them – we’ll have to see if the manager picks me again.”
United travel to Villa Park on Sunday, hoping to pick up their first win in four league games and Young is fully aware that there will be no love lost with the home supporters, but he’s ready for what promises to be a very hostile reception.
“Yeah, of course I am. I don’t mind a bit of stick when I go back there but I’m delighted with how [the Shakhtar match has] gone and we’ll build on the result and look forward to Sunday’s game.”