Sweden right back Emil Krafth has ignited some mind games ahead of his country’s World Cup quarter-final clash with England by firing a dig at Ashley Young‘s diving record.
The Englishman’s reputation as a diver stems from a hilariously obvious leap to the ground during a 2-0 win over QPR all the way back in 2012.
He was caught out once more against Crystal Palace in 2013; Roy Keane slammed him for a dive against CSKA Moscow in 2015. In other words, the charge is not totally baseless.
And Krafth, speaking ahead of the clash with England, was quick to point the finger at his opposite number for the game, noting he would need to be careful of Young’s penchant for diving.
“I am a Manchester United supporter and I have seen Young a lot – a good player who is very fast,” he said. “He likes to cut inside and shoot. In the box, we will have to look for his diving. Not do anything stupid.”
Young, like most wingers, used to indulge in clever little simulations in and around the box. He has a kind of gangly, stick-insect build which lends itself to buying penalties just by going down convincingly.
In more recent times, however, Young’s style has changed. This is mainly because his position has changed too. Playing at left-back requires less diving per se and more shithousery: a mixture of petty tackles and exaggerated falls and cheeky clips of ankles and tactical disruption of the play.
Shithousery – which will soon enter the Oxford dictionary, I hope – has been integral to this World Cup. It is integral to Young as a player. And it will be no doubt crucial to winning out against a rigid Sweden team on Saturday.