“I’m a scouser – we don’t do things like that.”
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Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has denied accusations that he is a diver and says that he has been unfairly labelled as a cheat.
The 21 year old was wrongly booked for simulation against Manchester City at the weekend by referee Andre Mariner following a tough challenge by Frank Lampard.
This follows accusations last month that the youngster went to ground too easily against West Ham and Barkley now believes the uproar from that incident is affecting the decisions of match officials against him.
“All the talk about what happened against West Ham, which I didn’t even intend on doing, is having an effect,” said Barkley to the Liverpool Echo.
“I was expecting contact. You could see that from my reaction in that game – I got straight back up and tried to get on the ball but the ref gave the free kick.”
Barkley insists he would never intentionally dive and says that because of a triple leg-break suffered during a game when he was 17, he may appear to go down early when expecting contact from fear of a late, dangerous tackle.
“I like driving forward with the ball so every now and then I expect a bit of contact because I’m committing players,” said Barkley. “Against City I was expecting the contact from Frank Lampard and there was contact. I thought it was a free-kick to us. I was disappointed the referee gave that as a foul and I got a yellow card.
“I was 100% certain it should have been a free-kick. The ref made his decision and said I dived but I don’t think that’s right.”
Barkley was a second half substitute against Manchester City on Saturday and believes he is finally approaching top form once again after missing the start of the season with a knee injury.