Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford made headlines for all the wrong reasons on Sunday.
The young England international has been in strong form lately, but was heavily criticised on social media for simulating a foul to win a penalty in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Swansea.
Rashford’s blatant dive, but it’s ok because he’s an English talent. pic.twitter.com/7pz5qfUjBN
— Abdi (@AbdiFooty) April 30, 2017
Neither Robbie Savage on co-commentary duty, nor Dean Saunders or Michael Owen in the studio, would criticise Rashford for diving to earn the penalty – in fact, they made seemed more to credit hs clever play and protecting himself rather than call it for what it was.
Even Gary Nevill on Monday morning argued that Rashford shouldn’t have to explain himself as he did what was necessary to put Man United in front.
He Doesn’t need to justify himself for winning his team a penalty ! https://t.co/x5b6AXbBLe
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) May 1, 2017
Jamie Carragher, however, is taking a far dimmer view of the incident. The former Liverpool and England defender was analysing the game on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, was harsher on the 19-year-old than anyone else by repeatedly, and consistently, using the word “dive” in his analysis:
“Yes [it was a dive]. It’s as simple as that.
“I’ve got sympathy with the referees, I think it’s really, really difficult. We can look at them and criticism them maybe, but it’s really difficult.
“A lot of the challenges we are going to look at are the same. Look at Rashford’s eyes, he sees the keeper coming now.
“All he’s thinking is ‘get there first and he’s going to hit me’. The problem is he doesn’t hit him, so he then has to throw his own foot in.
“Paul Clement said after the game he deceived the referee. He did dive and he’s won Manchester United a penalty.”
Carragher was equally harsh on Leroy Sane, who himself won a penalty for Manchester City in controversial circumstances against Middlesbrough later that afternoon, but was more lenient on the decision to award Harry Kane a spot kick for Tottenham against Arsenal in the North London derby.
The pundit debated the issue with former Crystal Palace and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew in the build-up to Watford’s clash against Liverpool at Vicarage Road.