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Oct 8, 2010

Shawcross leaps to defence of De Jong and Henry

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross believes Nigel de Jong and Karl Henry have been unfairly criticised for their robust style.

Shawcross, who has been attacked by Arsene Wenger on numerous occasions, and whose tackle broke the leg of Aaron Ramsey, says injuries are simply part of the game.

It was a tackle from Henry which broke Bobby Zamora's leg and De Jong's latest wild challenge caused a double leg break for Hatem Ben Arfa, but Shawcross refuses to blame his fellow professionals.

Shawcross said: "As a player, the likes of Henry and De Jong I'm sure didn't go out to injure another player on purpose. It's part and parcel of football - they are tough-tackling central midfielders whose games are based on making tackles, winning the ball and then giving it to the ball-players. Sometimes injuries are caused.

"You have just got to accept in these times, with the ball moving so fast and the player moving so fast, sometimes you are going to mis-time tackles and that is when injuries can happen.''

Meanwhile, FIFA's medical chief, Dr Michel D'Hooghe, has attacked Netherlands for their rough approach in the World Cup final and called for action over ''criminal'' acts on the pitch.

D'Hooghe, chairman of the FIFA's medical committee, has compiled a video of around 30 tackles that he believes will help push for tougher sanctions on offenders, as the issue has been pushed further into the spotlight since the World Cup final - a game that saw a record 14 yellow cards dished.

''I have made a compilation of brutality and criminality over the last two or three years in the main competitions in the world and it is amazing,'' he said.

Asked about de Jong being dropped by Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk, D'Hooghe said: ''On the one hand I am happy that some leaders take responsibility - on the other hand I am very sad that he did not do the same at the final of the World Cup.

''All the sympathy that I had for the Dutch football family and still have was a little bit demolished in 90 minutes. The final was a lost chance if you want to show that match to the youth of the world as the best football in the world.

''That's why I was very sad on the evening of the final. I would like football without brutality and we are asking the referees to be very strict - they have the regulations on their side and they have a very important role on prevention.

''Things sometime go close to criminality on the field and if it's a criminal act on the field it should be sanctioned.''

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