Harry Kane went down in stoppage time of Tottenham’s 2-2 north London derby draw against Arsenal on Sunday, but did not get a penalty.
That has sparked a row about diving, or manipulating the contact, and former Gunners striker Ian Wright has had his say on the issue.
As per BBC Five Live, Wright said: “I don’t like using that word (diving). It’s clumsy. The ball was on the left and he moved to the right to initiate the contact. He stepped in the way, he initiated the contact, he went over.
“It’s simulation, it’s cheating – I’d rather say that’s what it is. That’s all it was. Everyone’s doing it. People try and do it. When they don’t go down, people say ‘if he went down…’. We can’t say the referee’s under immense pressure now because he’s got help there from VAR. He didn’t get the penalty yesterday because he had help.”
TBR’s View – Strange line of argument from Wright but he knows the art of being a striker better than most
It’s strange that Wright actively calls what Kane did ‘cheating’ but also effectively seeks to condone it because that’s what everyone else is doing and the referee has help in trying to stop it happening.
He is clearly keen to put across as an ex-striker that doing what Kane did isn’t a heinous crime, it’s just what top players try and do to help their team.
It feels murky and reaching for VAR as a defence – when it’s hardly been a smoothly introduced system – doesn’t really work.
But Wright’s view does give an insight into the reality of a striker’s mindset towards those situations.