Barry blames Dutch FA
City midfielder leaps to defence of team-mate over tackle debate
By Jamie Casey. Last Updated: October 17, 2010 1:03pm
De Jong: Tough tackler
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry has pointed the finger at the Dutch Football Association for fuelling the uproar surrounding club team-mate Nigel de Jong's tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa.
Holland international De Jong has been at the centre of a debate over tough tackling in the Premier League after his thumping challenge left the Newcastle winger with a double leg break earlier this month.
The 25-year-old was subsequently dropped from the Dutch squad which beat Moldova and Sweden, with national team boss Bert van Marwijk labelling the tackle 'wild and unnecessary.'
De Jong did not face any action from the English FA and City team-mate Barry has leapt to the former Ajax midfielder's defence, claiming the Dutch FA's interference has been unnecessary.
"Obviously the Dutch FA dropping Nigel from their squad has blown the whole thing up," said the former Aston Villa midfielder.
"But you see tackles like that throughout the Premier League all season and it's just unfortunate Nigel caught him in the wrong place and broke his leg.
"I think it's been blown out of all proportion."
It is not the first time De Jong has been in the headlines for hard-hitting tackles, as he was criticised for a chest-high challenge on Spain's Xabi Alonso in last summer's World Cup final, for which he only received a yellow card.
'I think the players at our club are very surprised by all the criticism of Nigel," added Barry. "What happened in the World Cup final against Spain with his high challenge on Alonso is obviously on people's minds.
"I think, with the type of player he is, some of his tackles in previous games have finally caught up with him, but this whole thing started when he was left out of the Dutch squad."
De Jong is expected to be in City's starting XI to face Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Sunday and, although Barry recognises the Tangerines are in good form, he believes his side are well equipped to build on recent wins.
"Their players will be looking forward to this one," said Barry of Blackpool.
"Blackpool started well and have surprised a few teams. From what I've seen of them, they try to attack teams so it's set up for a good game.
"I think we're getting stronger. We showed great form to beat Chelsea and though we didn't play well against Newcastle, we dug in and got three points."