Mertens - No malice in Cahill push

Mon, 04 Jun 07:29:05 2012

Belgium player Dries Mertens insists there was "no malice" in the challenge which has ended England defender Gary Cahill's hopes of playing in Euro 2012.

Mertens pushed Cahill in the back during the first half of Saturday's friendly at Wembley and caused a collision between the Chelsea man and goalkeeper Joe Hart. The incident resulted in Cahill suffering a double fracture of the jaw and he now joins John Ruddy, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry in being ruled out of the original squad.

PSV Eindhoven player Mertens, who was yellow-carded for the challenge, said: "It was an accident. It was unintentional. He (Cahill) blocked me off and he hit his head (on Hart's shoulder). But there was no malice in what I did."

He added: "Absolutely, I feel for him. If that was me in his place, getting injured like that a week before the Euros, I'd feel so bad. I'd feel terrible. I'm sorry he's not able to go."

Cahill's defensive team-mate Joleon Lescott - who now looks set to partner John Terry in the centre of England's back four - was unimpressed by Mertens' push and felt the Belgian could have been red-carded.

Lescott wrote on Twitter: "Gutted to hear Gaz is ruled out. The challenge that caused it was more reckless and dangerous than most 2 footed tackles so why only yellow."

England skipper Steven Gerrard has revealed his anger - not at Mertens but at England losing so many key players in the build-up to the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

He said: "I am angry about it because we have lost some big players with a tournament eight or nine days away. That's the blow and that's the price you pay for these warm-up games.

"To do well in these tournaments you have to have your big players and to lose Gary is another huge blow on the back of Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry. His performances in the last six months have been colossal and he was a colossus in the Champions League final win. We needed him."


Comment 1 - 5 of 5

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  1. Mertens done that on purpose no doubt about it he is a­ coward he should have at least said he was out of order­ that was a red card ,freindly or not.All I can say is­ my mob Chelsea won against all the odds against­ Barcelona with both centre halfs out and with ten men­ and then on Bayerns home ground with four first choice­ top players out and penalties at theire end we still­ done it so COME ON ENGLAND against all the odds lets­ fight our guts out and do it.I trust Roy Hodgson we­ will be very organised and with Roony back we can do­ it. Chelseasyd.

    From Syd, on Tue 5 Jun 19:04
  2. I totally agree with u Ann & am surprised I have­ not read more on sport pages & websites about this­ very dangerous foul. You can see it's a very­ premeditated shove in the back when he knew that it­ would cause a high-speed collision between the 2­ England players. It should have been a red-card for­ dangerous play & then, after looking at the video­ evidence, a ban for the malice in it. I see this as­ worse than the Barton incident with Man City, but­ that's another story. What a shame for Cahill­ to miss a massive career tournament when he is at the­ top of his game for a 'nothing' challenge. He­ will be gutted & probably very angry.

    From gary, on Mon 4 Jun 18:34
  3. This push was deffinately on purpose. OK, would not­ have expected the outcome but that is not the point. If­ That was Rooney, he would of been sent off, and so he­ should of been,The Belgiums have not qualified and did­ not fear exclusion due to any injuries, this showed­ throughout the whole game and the ref did not really­ grasp this, some of the younger Belgiums appeared to­ want to prove they were a better side and were getting­ frustrated at the unexpected defence and team strength­ of the England side. Mertens showed early on, along­ with a couple of other that he was a bit spitefull and­ he KNOWS Absolutely that this push would result in the­ two players colliding,He is a coward for not putting­ his hands up and just admitting it.; Nelly, Hamwic,­ Southampton

    From nelly, on Mon 4 Jun 11:16
  4. Gaz! Get well soon! It should be the WC - time for­ you to shine! And Chelsea season just round the­ corner! Best wishes and good luck!!

    From Mr Uncle Vovan, on Mon 4 Jun 9:30
  5. Mertens needs to look at the video because it clearly­ shows that far from being accidental it was a petulant­ push that ranks as dangerous and he should have been­ red carded and banned.

    From ANN, on Mon 4 Jun 9:29
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