Harry Kane claims he’s never dived, after diving against Arsenal and Newcastle in his last two games for Tottenham Hotspur.
After Arsenal’s draw against Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend, much of the focus was rightly on Kane’s late dive to try and win a penalty.
Picking up the ball on the edge of the box in injury time, Kane had the opportunity to cut inside and take a shot on.
Instead, he went down the line into a blind alley, waited for Sokratis to touch him, then leapt off the floor and swung his legs into the Arsenal defender to simulate contact. It was notable that Dele Alli was the only Spurs player to appeal for the decision.
Funnily enough, Kane described the incident in very different terms when asked if he’d ever dived before.
“Never and, hopefully, I don’t have to,” the striker said. “I said after the Arsenal game it’s a 50/50 one, similar to the one we got given against us at Wembley the year before. It happens in football.
“I am someone who uses his body well, which as a striker you have to do at every level. On the halfway line, it’s a free-kick every day of the week. In the penalty box, you don’t always get it.”
The first part of Kane’s response is interesting. You don’t have to ‘hope’ you never have to dive, as if there’s a chance someone is going to put a gun to your head and force you.
‘Never, and I never plan to’, would’ve been a more convincing phrasing. Perhaps it tells us something about the player’s mentality that he thinks it’s normal to suggest there might be a scenario where diving becomes mandatory.
The idea that Kane never dives is ridiculous, of course. Just one week earlier, the striker was involved in a similar incident where he fell towards a Newcastle defender, even though he was dribbling the ball in a different direction at the time.
Kane’s diving perhaps isn’t in the standard style, where a player pushes the ball past someone and then pretends they were tripped. Instead, he looks to create contact by falling into people and exaggerating the slightest touch on his upper body.
It’s still diving. It’s still an attempt to deceive the referee by pretending to have been fouled. He just gets away with it more often because the replays show ‘contact’ – a factor that isn’t included in the rules around simulation but still gets cited as the key difference between a dive and a foul by casual viewers.
Until he starts being punished more than he’s rewarded for it, it’s unlikely Kane will change his ways.