Sheffield Wednesday: Owls ace Fernando Forestieri hits back at 'diver' claims
Wednesday star Fernando Forestieri has vehemently denied he is a diver, insisting flair players need more protection from referees.
The 14-goal forward is the fourth most-fouled player in the Championship and was controversially sent off twice in their away fixtures at Preston North End and Hull City last February.
The former Watford player was twice cautioned for simulation. His second caution versus play-off rivals Hull was widely-condemned.
Speaking in a national newspaper interview today, Forestieri said: “I was sent off twice, two games in a row, at Preston and Hull. I don’t know if it is my reputation, but if I do not try and jump over the tackle at Hull, maybe I am injured badly too.
“You know, when you are running fast, only a little contact can take you down.
“Not every fall is from the swimming pool (a dive), but now I have every nickname.
“They call me a cheat, a diver, everything. But if fans want to see harder contact, they need to go and watch rugby.
“It is true players need to help referees, but sometimes players need more protection. When I got both red cards, I did not imagine the fouls."
The ex-Italian Under-21 international has expressed his sympathy for Brentford's Alan Judge. The Republic of Ireland international faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a broken leg against Ipswich Town last week. Judge was stretchered off following a challenge from Luke Hyam. He has undergone surgery this week.
“The best opponent I have seen in the Championship this season is Alan Judge of Brentford. I like him a lot,” said Forestieri. “But last weekend he had his leg broken by a tackle at Ipswich.
“He misses playing for his country at the Euros, the most beautiful moment of his career, and I feel really bad for him. The Ipswich player gets only a yellow card."