“De Bruyne is a disgrace and a good Englishman would have allowed his leg to be broken there,” says Merson

Describing the incident as yet another example of the cowardice of foreign footballers, Paul Merson has criticised Manchester City player Kevin de Bruyne for his reaction to a dangerous tackle on Saturday, insisting that a good Englishman would have allowed his leg to be broken.

De Bruyne was on the receiving end of what was described as a “horror tackle” by Tottenham Hotspur forward Dele Alli yesterday evening, with a wide range of pundits criticising the former MK Dons man for reckless disregard of the Belgian’s safety.

Merson however, has rejected this argument, and laid blame at de Bruyne for not simply allowing his ankle to be broken in several places during the tackle.

“This is the problem with foreign players. They come in to the Premier League and they’re just not used to the physicality of it. They receive a tackle like Alli’s and just go down holding their ankle and calling for a foul. If that was Micky Quinn he’d have stood there and had his leg shattered, and it would’ve been the right thing to do,” said Merson, adding that he was becoming continually dismayed at how soft and contactless the league was becoming.

“Do we really want to pay our money to watch a league where players would rather play on rather than suffer serious injury? It’s not the Premier League I played in and it’s not the Premier League I want to watch. Maybe one day these foreigners will stop being so selfish and cowardly, but I wouldn’t wait on it.”

At press time, Merson suggested that referees take a harsher line on foreign players so honest Englishmen such as Dele Alli and Harry Kane aren’t given unfair reputations in future.