Despite the remarkable outcry surrounding Nigel de Jong‘s recent horror tackle, the LA Galaxy brute has been defended by his coach Bruce Arena.
Speaking to the media—as reported by the Los Angeles Times—former USMNT coach Arena has slammed the reaction to the midfielder’s tackle, insisting that the player’s reputation has preceded him.
De Jong escaped with a yellow card despite laying out Darlington Nagbe of Portand Timbers with a high tackle that left his opponent in a wheelchair.
— Football Tribes (@football_tribes) April 13, 2016
While Nagbe hasn’t suffered a break, he has sprained his ankle, while de Jong has escaped major punishment, receiving just a three-month ban.
Just heard 3 game ban for De Jong as well. https://t.co/6tULwSyvuI
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) April 14, 2016
His tackle was broadly criticised on social media, although as is regularly the case with serial offenders such as the Netherlands international, the player’s past misdemeanours—including horror fouls on Xabi Alonso and Hatem Ben Arfa—were again brought under the spotlight.
There are tough tackling players and then there are those out to injury others, last nights tackle more evidence Nigel De Jong is latter. — Kyle Martino (@kylemartino) April 11, 2016
Here’s the troubling part on de Jong/Nagbe tackle: Chapman placed himself in a good spot, saw the tackle and still showed a yellow. #MLS
— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) April 11, 2016
“I think it’s hysteria,” Arena began. “If that was any other player in that tackle, it would not have received the hysteria that it has.
“I think the press and others have failed miserably in reporting the incident and what actually happened.”
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De Jong moved to Major League Soccer in Februray, having previously featured for the likes of Manchester City, AC Milan and Hamburg.
The 31-year-old began his career with Ajax, and helped the Netherlands to the final of the 2010 World Cup.