Glenn Whelan does not believe Stoke City team-mate Ryan Shawcross deliberately set out to hurt Aaron Ramsey in Saturday's clash with Arsenal.
Shawcross saw red in the second half of the 3-1 defeat after clashing with Ramsey in a tackle that left the Wales international with a double leg fracture.
Whelan concedes Shawcross' tackle was late, but he does not believe there was any malice in the challenge or that the 22-year-old set out to hurt the Gunners' youngster.
"He was obviously disappointed because of what happened with the boy," explained Whelan.
"I haven't seen the tackle again, but when I first saw it I don't think it was a dirty tackle.
"I think it was maybe a little bit late but no more."
Whelan was the first man in to console Ramsey and he has revealed he just told the youngster to try not to think about the horrible injury.
"I was the next one in after the tackle and seen what's gone on," he continued. "The lad himself kept trying to look and hold his leg.
"I was just trying to take his mind off it and try not to think about it and think about something else."
Meanwhile, Potters boss Tony Pulis has confirmed that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson rang him after the incident to offer his support.
Shawcross began his career at United under Ferguson and is still highly-regarded by the Scot, but was allowed to move on to Stoke before making a first-team appearance.
"Sir Alex rang Ryan after the game on Sunday to give him his support and told him that he shouldn't miss out on England duty," explained Pulis.
"These things do happen, unfortunately, and Sir Alex still thinks a lot of Ryan after having him for so long at Manchester United.
"He knows him as well as I do and knows he is not the sort of player to go out to deliberately hurt anyone. Sir Alex had obviously seen the incident and believed, like I do, that it was an accident.
"He told him he will get over it, even though he knows he's hurting now. Ryan really appreciated the call and it's given him a bit of a lift at a very difficult time."