Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman suffered a sickening leg break during their 2018 World Cup Qualifier clash with Wales on Friday night.
The Everton right-back was tackled by Neil Taylor, who was soon sent off, as both were challenging for the ball in the middle of the pitch in a hotly-contested tie.
Although it was reckless from the Aston Villa man, here are the reasons why the full blame should not be placed on the defender.
Was it any different to challenges we see every Saturday?
Yes, the tackle was slightly high from Taylor but as the ball rebounds back of him from Jonathon Walter’s attempted cross, it is there to be won.
Challenges like this one happen week in and week out in the Premier League and Taylor’s tackle is no worse than a lot of the clashes we see every game that only warrant a yellow card, or even less.
Unfortunately this incident resulted in a terrible outcome for Coleman but is it any different to the strong, committed 50/50s we see every Saturday?
If Taylor hadn’t of gone in for that challenge, would he have been scrutinised by his own team-mates and fans for not showing enough heart and courage?
Both teams were determined not to lose
There’s no doubt that Wales manager Chris Coleman would have been pumping his players up before the match and at half-time.
This was a match the Dragons could not afford to lose. Defeat in this game and they would have waved goodbye to the World Cup in 2018, so soon after their heroics in France.
Both sides were desperate not to lose, displayed throughout the whole match in their true grit and determination in a highly-competitive affair.
This was also shown by the intensity and pace that Coleman was trying to reach that loose ball. If he hadn’t have been running so fast, would the impact of the challenge had been so strong?
Obviously, it would be cruel and wrong to blame Coleman for his owe leg-break but pointing the finger solely on Taylor is wrong.
Some blame has to be pointed at the referee
One person who must take a large chunk of responsibility is referee Nicola Rizzoli.
The official, quite obviously, failed to take control of the match in any shape or form and struggled to stamp his authority when it was needed at an early stage.
There were a few tasty tackles at the start of the game, some fair and some not so fair, but if Rizzoli had dealt with these challenges accordingly, we may not have been talking about Coleman’s injury today.
Coincidentally, just a few moments before the injury, Gareth Bale was guilty of launching a rash attempt to close the ball down from John O’Shea in the penalty area.
The referee showed a yellow card but this could have all so easily have been a red. Bale was running at high intensity and as he slid in, his studs were showing and the challenge was high, making contact with O’Shea’s knee.
Rizzoli could have made some kind of redemption with a sending off here, but the standard had already been set. He had already let players know what was acceptable and any other referee would have produced a red card without hesitation.
If Bale had been sent off, would Taylor had gone in full bloodied and potentially ruin Coleman’s career? It’s very much doubted.
It’s unclear how long Coleman will be out for
Martin O’Neill has refused to put a time scale on how long Coleman will be out for and there may even by complications, like there is with many career threatening injuries.
Even though sheer force and recklessness is often the case with a serious break like this one, it must be noted there was other reasons why Coleman has suffered this very preventable injury and Taylor shouldn’t be solely to blame.
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