Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has weighed in on Son Heung-min’s controversial red card in last night’s clash between Tottenham and Everton.
Son was sent off by Martin Atkinson for a challenge that left Everton midfielder Andre Gomes with a horrific injury, though it seems clear from replays that the worst part of his knock was down to the awkward way he landed rather than any malicious intent from his opponent.
It therefore seems harsh to give Son his marching orders for something fairly out of his control, and Halsey agrees with the widely-held view that he should only have received a yellow card.
The South Korea international was clearly distraught by what had happened to Gomes, who was in a very bad way and who now surely faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Still, Tottenham will also not be happy to have to lose Son for any period of time due to suspension, and Halsey has neatly explained why it looks like Atkinson made the wrong choice.
Pictures courtesy of Sky Sports
Writing for the Sun, he said: “I watched Son Heung-min’s reckless challenge on Andre Gomes and thought the same as Martin Atkinson – yellow card.
“The Tottenham forward denied a promising attack but I didn’t think it was a serious foul play challenge and a red card.
“Son’s foul did not endanger the player’s safety and it was so unfortunate that Everton midfielder Gomes’ studs caught in the turf before his sickening collision with Serge Aurier.
“Initially, Atkinson had a yellow card in his hand but having seen the reaction on the player’s faces and the crowd he gave himself more thinking time by putting it back in his pocket.
“With emotions running high, Atkinson then issued a red card on the basis of his human response.
“Atkinson should not receive any criticism because any referee in that horrible position would have done the same.
“Son has been red carded for the unfortunate consequences of what happened next, not for the foul itself.
“It’s a wrongful dismissal for Son and if VAR had got involved, I believe the South Korean would not have been sent off.
“Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says the club will appeal and I believe they will have every chance of the decision being overturned.”