Arsene Wenger has suggested that English players have become the “masters” of diving after both Harry Kane and Dele Alli were accused of simulation during Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
Specific names were not mentioned by Wenger but, ahead of Saturday’s north London derby, Wenger was asked directly about Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s claim that “football is about trying to trick your opponent”. Pochettino also said that English football had become “so sensitive” about what he called “minimal details” after Alli was booked for a third time in his career for diving.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk also accused Kane of “diving clearly”, even though the Tottenham striker was adamant that there had been contact for his penalty.
“I am convinced that he [Pochettino] wanted to say that tricking your opponent is to say that you have to be clever,” said Wenger. “How far was it an apology for diving? I’m not sure at all. I don’t think he would. In my personal case? No. We have to get the diving out of the game. I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it but I must say the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now.”
Wenger accused England and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling of diving earlier this season but, ahead of such a crucial derby match, his comments are likely to go down badly with Spurs fans. They will certainly also ensure an added spotlight on the decision of referee Anthony Taylor.