Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Karl Henry has criticised Clint Dempsey after the Fulham star accused him of deliberately setting out to hurt Bobby Zamora on Saturday.
Zamora has undergone surgery on a broken leg and damaged ligaments and, given that the procedure was a success, Fulham retain some hope that their star striker will be available to return to first-team action in January.
Zamora, who won his first England cap in a friendly against Hungary last month, sustained the injury when Henry’s legs became entangled under his right foot after his opponent had won the ball cleanly. An angry Dempsey then pointed the finger at Henry, who maintains his innocence.
“It was disappointing that a few of them were trying to have a go at me,” Henry said in The Sun. “They were fine with it until they realised how badly hurt he was, which was a load of rubbish because I would never do anything deliberately to hurt anybody.
“It was disappointing. I was having a go at Clint and he was having a go at me. I don’t want to hear from another professional that I have gone out to do somebody. That wasn’t the case. I am sure if you have seen it, it was a fair tackle and I have tried to win the ball.
“I am sorry I have done any damage to him because that is the last thing I would have wanted. I know Bobby, we have the same agent and played together with the England Under-21s. I would never go out to hurt anyone, let alone him.
“I have just tried to win the ball, I could see Bobby was in agony straight away and called over the physio. I don’t know what he has done or how bad it is but there was nothing from me that I tried to do him or anything like that which a few players were suggesting.”
After a bruising encounter with Newcastle on August 28, Wolves are beginning to develop a reputation for physical play and Mick McCarthy’s side picked up six bookings and a red card at Craven Cottage to provoke home fans into singing “Disgrace to the Premier League.”
But Henry was unimpressed by the reaction of Cottagers supporters and says Wolves were unfairly treated by referee Phil Dowd.
“Hearing that chant was poor but we are professionals and have to get on with it,” Henry said. “We know what this league is like. It is a footballing league and people want to see pretty football. No one wants to see us come in and get competitive. It is a side of the game that maybe people don’t want to see any more. They just want to see the pretty football.
“And if you are upsetting the players then you are upsetting the fans and that’s the way it is. People need to get on with it. It is in the rules of the game to tackle and I think people need to stop moaning about it. “A lot of our bookings today were unjust. I know we were away from home and the crowd were getting on the referee’s back for not giving them decisions and it is tough.
“Is our reputation going before us? I think that was the case here. It was well publicised what happened against Newcastle and we felt maybe our cards were marked here. We were getting booked for things and getting fouls for things were didn’t think were fouls. Maybe we have to look at that and learn we can’t put our foot in so much away from home.”