Hackett 'agrees with Jenas' as he demands big VAR change after Aston Villa controversy

Ollie Watkins tried to “deceive” the referee against Man United and deserved a red card for Aston Villa.

That is the view of ex-FIFA and Premier League official Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the incident in the dying stages that means Watkins will miss Villa’s next game against Everton.

The striker was already on a yellow card when he came together with Henderson and was shown a second yellow.

Speaking after the game, Dean Smith told Birmingham Live the decision was “very, very soft”.

BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas praised the decision on Match of the Day 2 and insisted he wanted to see more yellow cards for simulation.

Asked for his assessment of the incident, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “Contact or no contact is, in a way, immaterial. What the player has done is commit an act of simulation to deceive the referee.

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“As a result, it’s a cautionable offence. Dean Smith might argue a red card is not deserved but he’s already had a yellow card.

“This is a cautionable offence. Where he’s got an argument is we’ve seen lots of players not being cautioned for acts of simulation. It’s the inconsistency of the refereeing that causes the problem.

“I agree with Jenas, 100 per cent.

“I’ve said it before when players go down and are not awarded a penalty kick, ‘Why doesn’t the referee caution them for an act of simulation?’

“Referees need to be more consistent in this area. For me, that’s one of the big things of VAR.

“If VAR says they’ve dived they should be cautioned. The law says that, all you want is the referee to apply it.”

In other news, a West Brom rising star has headed to Aston Villa after permission granted.