These are comments made by Paul Robinson, the Bolton defender who almost broke Abou Diaby’s leg with a brutal, shin-high tackle, in reply to Arsene Wenger’s absolutely correct comments about dangerous tackling.
“I’m a committed player who wants to win all the time. I don’t go in to hurt people – that’s not my game – I just want to win the ball and I’m fully committed. Whatever [Wenger] says is down to him. It won’t affect me because I do it week in, week out so let him have his say. It doesn’t bother me.
“It’s a physical game. Are we going to just walk around on the pitch and should defenders just let players walk past them? Is it going to come to a point where you’re not allowed to tackle people? There are certain tackles that are not acceptable in the game but it’s a hard sport, a sport where you put your bodies on the line. There are a lot of players in the game who are winners and who want to win, so how do you stop that?
“When the ball is there to be won you have to go in to try to win it and I don’t believe players go out to deliberately injure opponents. It’s just not in their minds. Obviously sometimes you’re going to catch a player – that happens – but it’s just unfortunate. But is it going to stop tackling in games? I hope not because that will spoil the game.”
Leaving aside the fact that a player who committed this tackle is calling it “unfortunate”, the ignorance of his question “are we going to just walk around on the pitch and should defenders just let players walk past them?” is astonishing and clearly shows he did not even hear the manager’s comments following the game.
For the record, here they are:
“The tackle on Abou was definitely a sending-off offence – it was horrendous and I think the authorities should look at it again and do something about it. Abou could have had his leg broken.”
“Don’t get me wrong – sometimes my players commit bad fouls. Yet the beauty of the game is down to the fact that you play with commitment, with passion but also with the right intention. If you have a good sliding tackle where the player takes the ball, it’s as good to see as a player scoring a goal. But when a guy closes his eyes and jumps with anger it’s not right.”
“When I say: ‘This is a bad foul,’ I just say: ‘This is a bad foul.’ I do not consider who it is, where it is or the manager. I just think it is a bad foul.”
Have your say on Robinson and Wenger by leaving a comment.