Eamon Dunphy’s level of anger towards Neil Taylor seems to have undergone something of an adjustment over the weekend.
The outspoken RTE Sport pundit was apoplectic after the reckless tackle by the Aston Villa captain on Seamus Coleman, which broke the Ireland captain’s leg in two places.
At the time, Dunphy called the challenge “filthy” and insisted that while what had gone on before, some of the elbows etc., were indicative of the type of challenge that would happen in a Premier League game, Taylor’s lunge was nothing of the sort.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) March 24, 2017
However, it seems that Dunphy has had a change of heart over the weekend. Writing in his column for the Daily Star on Monday morning, the former Irish international has expressed sympathy for the Welsh left-back and is now suggesting that the wild challenge was, in fact, not unusual at all, and that Taylor was simply unlucky that he caught Coleman as badly as he did:
“My initial response was one of outrage and I was angry with Taylor.
“But, when I cooled down and thought about it, I had more sympathy for the Welshman.
“It wasn’t a premeditated or calculated assault on Coleman. Taylor was desperate to get the ball, and intended to go in hard.
“But that’s not unusual. Players look to go in hard in challenges all the time.
“It was a lunge by Taylor, Coleman, as usual, was going full pelt. He was unlucky enough to have his foot on the ground when Taylor came over the top and has paid a heavy price.
“Taylor needs to be cut some slack. What happened to Coleman was one of the worst things I have seen on a football pitch. But, if you watch football regularly, it’s just pure luck that this doesn’t happen more often.”
Quotes via Irish Independent
Having been sent off for the offence Taylor is automatically handed a one-match ban for the foul. However, should the UEFA disciplinary committee decide that the foul is worthy of greater punishment, the 28-year-old could find himself suspended for as many as five games, which would in turn rule him out of the remainder of Wales’ World Cup qualification campaign.