James Perch can’t believe anyone can accuse him of diving, as he tells Chief Sports Writer Mark Douglas in an exclusive interview.
OF all the players in the Premier League to be accused of diving, James Perch seems like the most unlikely of targets.
Perch stood accused of making the most of a clash with Pepe Reina at the weekend but the Mansfield-born midfielder, cum defender, cum left-back, cum right-winger is one of the most honest professionals in the game.
Hard in the tackle and unflinching in his approach to the physical side of the game, he has clambered back from the brink to earn himself a place in this Newcastle United side on the back of hard work and resolve.
So it is no surprise that his defence against charges of play-acting is as robust and no-nonsense as his performances have been of late.
“I wasn’t really surprised by some of the things that were said – it’s Liverpool fans and all that,” he said. ”They can say what they want, it’s water off a duck’s back.
“I’m not bothered, I don’t really read too much into it. I’m not a diver. People who have seen me play know what kind of player I am. I’m not going to go and dive about and act silly and the rest of it.
“If someone makes contact with you, someone makes contact with you. That’s it.
“He shouldn’t have done it really and I know deep down he’ll think ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ because it’s cost them at the end of the day. It’s his actions that have caused it.
“There’s no need for all the talk really, you just need to look at the telly to see he’s in the wrong.
“He was probably frustrated at the way it was going – I’m not going to blame him for doing it because he’s frustrated and he wanted them to do well. Things happen; I bet he regrets it now.” A line drawn under that incident, Perch is now looking forward to linking up with friend Mike Williamson in the centre of defence against Swansea tomorrow.
Williamson was cooking Perch dinner last night. This is clearly a partnership that is strong on and off the pitch. It will need to be against a Swansea side that have surprised the Premier League with their superb passing football and Barcelona-lite philosophy.
“I’ve had experience playing against them for (Nottingham) Forest. We never used to like playing against them because of how they keep the ball,” Perch said.