Everton defender Lucas Digne was rightly sent off at Southampton yesterday, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, rubbished Carlo Ancelotti’s suggestion that the 27-year-old was dismissed as a result of Jordan Pickford’s tackle on Virgil van Dijk last week.
Digne was shown a straight red for his challenge on Southampton full-back Kyle Walker-Peters as the Toffees unbeaten run came to an end at St. Mary’s on Sunday.
Ancelotti was incensed by the decision and suggested that Pickford and Richarlison’s high tackles in the Merseyside derby a week previous “affected” the referee.
Whelan is adamant that Digne should have been sent off regardless of intent.
“I do not think it influenced any decision,” he told Football Insider.
“Yes, it was accidental but it is dangerous whichever way you look at it. He got his studs caught in the sock as well which kept his boot on there longer than it should have been.
“It is a mistake, it is not intentional but at the same time he has endangered his opponent.
“Unfortunately, it was accidental from Lucas Digne but it is a very bad place to get it, down the achilles so the referee had no option.
“It was the right decision to send him off. It could have been a lot worse than it was. Mistake or not it was definitely a red card.
“It is a blow to Everton because Digne has been playing very well. He will be missed, absolutely.”
In other Everton news, Michael Brown insists Ferguson critical to ‘big’ player transformation.