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By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Gareth Bale insists he is not a diver, arguing that evasive action is often needed to “get out of the way and save my career”.
The Welshman has been booked for simulation twice this season and, having won a dubious penalty at Arsenal, earned his side another questionable spot-kick in last night’s FA Cup replay with Stevenage after a challenge from Mark Roberts.
After the game, Roberts said: “I thought he went down very easily. That’s football at the very highest level, they look for those things.”
Now Bale has had his own say on the issue: “It’s a bit annoying [when people say I dive] when you’ve got people flying in at you. It’s not really diving, you’re trying to get out of the way of the challenge,” he said.
“If you stand there, you’re going to get a whack. Sometimes it looks like you’re diving but if someone’s coming across you, I’d rather get out of the way than get hurt.
“I try not to get in the way of tackles and if people want to say I’m diving then they can, but I’m trying to get out of the way and save myself, to save my career. It’s football, it’s a contact sport, things do happen and you’ve got to try to be clever with it.
“People want to take you down and get you out of the game, and I suppose you can take it as a compliment. It’s not nice but I think it’s to be expected now.
“In a way they think that’s the only way they can stop you. They hit you, you get up and the best players get on with it and go at them again - until you’re actually really hurt!
“You get used to it, take it as a compliment and keep going at him. You think: “You can’t stop me and the only way you can is to foul me.” I’ve got a few people sent off by doing that this year.”
Bale missed Sunday’s defeat against Manchester United through illness, and he admits that he was struggling at the end of the first half during last night’s FA Cup tie.
“I haven’t done much training for the last 10 days,” he said. “I trained on Tuesday and that was the first time for a while because I’ve been ill and had a bit of a hamstring problem.
“My stomach wasn’t right and I felt a bit dizzy. I took something to settle it down at half-time and that made me feel a lot better. It was getting over the illness and the bug.
“I found it difficult in the first half to get into it, but I felt stronger as the game went on. It was good to get some running into my legs and hopefully I’ll kick on now.”
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