Roberto Martinez defends Ross Barkley after diving row

Barkley went down under a challenge from Kevin Nolan against West Ham, a little too easily for some people's liking.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has defended midfielder Ross Barkley after his diving controversy from last weekend's win over West Ham United in the Premier League.

Barkley went down easily under a challenge from Kevin Nolan which became one of the weekend's talking points, but Martinez has said he was off balance when Nolan was about to challenge him, and went to ground as a result.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “The action on Saturday is an incident where he has got the ball, he’s a little bit off balance, he can see a player and he’s trying to get away from it.

“His reaction is not to stay on the ground and hoping the referee will blow the whistle. He got up quickly and it’s not even in the box, he’s not trying to get a big decision.

“You see him receive a lot of kicks because he protects the ball so well and is so strong that sometimes you try to get away from those contacts, but he is not trying to get a decision from the referee that he could give us a penalty or a real advantage.

“I consider diving is when you’ve got a real intention to get a decision from a referee in areas where he could give you a penalty or a clear situation of getting someone in trouble. That was not the case at all and it has been blown out of all proportion.”

There is little doubt that Barkley is the most promising talent gracing the turf at Goodison Park over the past couple of seasons, and is amongst an exciting crop of footballers from the English game. 

Diving is such a touchy subject in the modern day game, and any simulation to gain an advantage over an opponent is frowned upon, and can easily fill column inches. One would hope for Barkley's sake it ends up being an isolated incident.

Martinez is keen to protect the youngster, and wants people to focus on the immense talent the player possesses, and rightly so.

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