Hodgson backs Vardy over 'dive' and reaction

Roy Hodgson with Jamie Vardy during national team training last month. The coach feels the Leicester player did not dive but went down as he became unbalanced while running at high speed.
Roy Hodgson with Jamie Vardy during national team training last month. The coach feels the Leicester player did not dive but went down as he became unbalanced while running at high speed.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • England manager Roy Hodgson has leapt to the defence of Jamie Vardy after the striker was sent off for simulation during Leicester's 2-2 draw with West Ham on Sunday.

The 29-year-old, who had been cautioned for an earlier challenge, was shown a second yellow card after a tangling of legs with Angelo Ogbonna, the West Ham centre-back who had pulled him back.

"I will go out on a limb - I don't see that as a dive," said Hodgson, who was speaking at a media briefing in London before Euro 2016.

"He was unbalanced. I don't think it was a penalty either, he was unbalanced, running at that speed.

"There was a very slight contact with the defender, who was trying to cover. He went down because he was unbalanced. I don't think he was trying to dive. Perhaps it's not in his make-up.

"But of course all the pundits I hear say he was trying to dive. I don't see it, for me I wouldn't blame him for that. I sympathise with him. He was very, very unlucky. Now he's had to swallow the fact he's been made to leave the field."

The England international's angry reaction to Jon Moss' decision has led to an FA charge and could bring a further one-game ban.

Hodgson again expressed support. "He's reacted like sometimes human beings react," the 68-year old said.

"He hasn't just said to the ref, 'That is all right, I understand,' and shakes hands. He has called him a few names. But he's a human being and that can happen.

"Our discipline record over the last few years has been pretty good. I think it will remain good, but I can't guarantee you a Vardy, a Wayne Rooney or a Dele Alli, or anyone else for that matter, is not going to do that."

Before the European Championship finals, the England squad will be addressed by a Uefa referee on the standards expected in France.

"Our players will know discipline is very, very important," Hodgson said. "Our players will have it drummed into them that they must keep their cool, don't lose your temper, don't run the risk that they are going to upset you and get you sent off.

Looking beyond the tournament, the coach, who took charge in 2012, reiterated his desire to stay on.

"If the FA want me and the mood in the country is they'd like me to stay then I'm more than happy to stay," he said.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2016, with the headline 'Hodgson backs Vardy over 'dive' and reaction'. Print Edition | Subscribe