McLeish: Football becoming non-contact

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish believes football could become a non-contact sport as he defended the challenge by Alan Hutton which has side-lined West Brom striker Shane Long for six weeks.

Football News: Alex McLeish

Baggies boss Roy Hodgson feels Scotland international Hutton should have received a straight red card for the challenge during the first half of his side's 2-1 win at Villa Park last weekend.

McLeish is sorry Long has been ruled out until December, but believes such tackles are commonplace in games, although that may cease if UEFA continue to clamp down on such challenges.

He said: "Alan made a tackle, the ball was there to be won. I can understand why Roy would not be happy because of the collision and the follow through.

"It is something that UEFA are clamping down on and I'm sure in 10 years time you won't see any contact at all in football.

"It is heading that way.

"We feel sorry about the outcome of that one. Shane Long is a wonderful player and we are sorry the lad got injured.

"But, believe you me, there are challenges like that every single game and, when no-one is hurt, then there is nothing said about it.

"It is only when a player gets hurt that it is dressed up to look malicious and intentional, and Alan Hutton is not that type of player."

Hutton has recovered from a head wound which required seven stitches in the same game and will be fit to face Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light on Saturday.

But the big plus for McLeish is the availability of on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas.

He has been laid low with thigh and Achilles problems since moving to Villa in late August.

McLeish said: "Jermaine hasn't kicked a ball in the jersey yet and it has been frustrating for him and for us.

"But we are delighted to see him back on the training field.

"It's probably too soon to start him. But I certainly have plans to include him in the squad for the weekend."



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