Wenger: English players are now the masters of diving

Arsene Wenger claims English players are now the “masters” of diving.

Wenger: English players are now the masters of diving

Simulation has been in the headlines this week following Dele Alli’s booking for diving as Tottenham drew at Liverpool on Sunday.

Wenger made the remarks ahead of tomorrow’s north London derby against Spurs and after Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said diving was a “minimal issue” within the sport.

Arsenal manager Wenger has already escaped the wrath of the Football Association on the subject this season after claiming Raheem Sterling “dives well” following a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in November.

Pochettino said on Tuesday that ‘tricking’ an opponent was now part of the game but, while he believes he knows what the Argentinian was getting at, Wenger went on to point the finger at home-grown players.

“I am convinced that he wanted to say that tricking your opponent is to say that you have to be clever,” he said when asked about Pochettino’s comments.

“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.”

While Alli was cautioned for simulation at Anfield, his teammate and fellow England international Harry Kane was accused of a similar action by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk as he won a contentious penalty for Spurs.

Wenger was adamant that he would not actively encourage diving but said most attacking players would look to push the boundaries in order to gain an advantage.

“I don’t tell my players to dive,” he said.

“I don’t encourage them to dive at all. But sometimes you want your players to be intelligent, they have played a little bit with the rules, they make more of it on the penalty case.

“Every striker will do that. They extend, a little bit, the rules. Where is it and how far can you go? That is down to the referees and I think that sometimes, at normal speed, it is very difficult to determine, I must say.”

Arsenal head to Wembley to face Spurs four points and one place adrift of their neighbours.

Wenger’s men have won their last nine games at Wembley, including a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in this season’s Community Shield. The Frenchman is pleased to be back.

Asked if he preferred the game to be at Wembley rather than White Hart Lane, Wenger replied: “Yes, because we have a positive history there.”

Goalkeeper Petr Cech is a doubt for the game having been forced off in the win over Everton last week but Nacho Monreal should be recovered from illness in time to retain his place in defence.

Meanwhile, Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld has declared himself ready to face Arsenal after returning from the longest lay-off of his career.

Alderweireld played 90 minutes versus Newport on Wednesday, his first appearance since tearing his hamstring against Real Madrid 14 weeks ago.

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