It’s a dangerous business accusing a player of diving. You never know what’s going through their head or what contact they felt at the time.
However, former England international Darren Bent has seemingly had no qualms in coming out and stating that West Ham United captain Mark Noble did just that against Aston Villa on Monday.
Speaking to Football Insider, the Sky Sports pundit said: “That shocked me. He is so experienced Mark Noble. If you’d have said about diving and Mark Noble I’d have said no way, it’s impossible, I wouldn’t put those two in the same sentence.”
It’s truly difficult to disagree with anything Bent said, there, and Noble can have no complaints on this score. A video of the incident, posted on Twitter by a user by the name of MikeyGranger, clearly shows Noble going down in the box despite zero contact from Villa man Anwar El Ghazi.
Clearly, this was an attempt from Noble to win his side a penalty in a close game. That doesn’t make him the devil, and his normal reputation for fair play stands him in good stead, but he’d do well to come out and admit his mistake on this occasion.
As Bent says, it was shocking to see him do this. Perhaps Noble was ‘anticipating contact’, as talkSPORT commentator Ian ‘The Moose’ Abrahams suggested on his personal Twitter account, but either way he went down without being touched – that’s a dive.
It will be interesting to see if the Englishman comes out and addresses this issue. He is an experienced campaigner and is looked up to by a lot of people, especially in east London. It would behoove him to try and right this wrong by admitting his error in judgement.