By Harvey Byrne
Former Wales striker John Hartson has said he can’t defend Aston Villa full-back Neil Taylor’s tackle on Seamus Coleman in Friday evening’s World Cup qualifier.
The 28-year-old left-back saw a straight red card on the 69th minute after Taylor put in a nasty challenge on the Everton star, resulting in him breaking his leg.
Taylor’s challenge has been heavily criticised from many and one critic came from fellow countryman and BBC pundit Hartson.
The now 41-year-old tore into the Villa ace, describing his challenge as “reckless”, “irresponsible” as well as simply stating he can’t be defended.
“Yes he is, and obviously your thoughts immediately go to Seamus Coleman this morning, who we believe has gone in for an operation,” told Hartson on Saturday morning’s Football Focus on BBC One.
“We wish him a full and speedy recovery of course. But, it was a shocking challenge by Neil Taylor. I think he’ll know that himself.
“He’s apologised and rightly so. I believe he went into the Republic of Ireland dressing room after the game to apologise right away and his next port of call will be to get in touch with Seamus himself.
“It was reckless, it was irresponsible and it’s okay saying it was unintentional. I think most of the guys generally like each other and respect each other. There is a mutual respect in football.
“I don’t think anyone actually goes onto a football field with the intent of breaking someone’s leg.
“That’s actually happened. It’s an awful shame from Seamus Coleman’s point of view. You feel for the boy, but it was an awful tackle. There’s no going away from that. I can’t defend it.”
Taylor has been a part of Steve Bruce’s side since January after completing a move from Premier League side Swansea in a deal which involved attacker Jordan Ayew heading in the opposite direction.
He has cemented the left-back position as his own, starting in Villa’s last seven league matches and fans will now be hoping this does not affect his performances as they aim for a late play-off charge.
Eighth placed Norwich will face the Villans next and Taylor will still be able to face the Canaries with international bans not affecting domestic football.
In other Aston Villa news, Ian Taylor has reacted to Jonathan Kodjia’s wonder strike.