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Football | Barclays Premier League

Whelan defends McManaman's tackle



Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan has spoken out in defence of winger Callum McManaman, who committed a dangerous tackle on Newcastle United's Massadio Haidara in Sunday's Premier League meeting between the sides.

McManaman, who was making his first league start, caught Haidara on the knee with his studs after careering into a tackle midway through the first half at the DW Stadium.

The French full-back, 20, had to be carried off on a stretcher, but referee Mark Halsey did not punish 21-year-old McManaman for the challenge.

"The ball was there and McManaman got the ball as clear as a whistle, then followed through and they collided," Whelan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The referee was 15 yards from the tackle. I don't think his view was blocked. He had a clear view. I had a clear view in the stands.

"He hasn't gone over the ball. That's an accident. There is not one ounce of malice in (him).

"He is an enthusiastic young boy. He has got great prospects. He was very upset by it all."

Whelan speaks from experience, as he had his leg broken in the 1960 FA Cup final while playing for Blackburn Rovers.

The injury curtailed his playing career, but the Latics chairman said it was no use blaming the perpetrator of the tackle in which he hurt himself.

"When I broke my leg in the cup final, it was exactly the same type of tackle," he added.

"We both went for the ball. It brought back memories. It ruined my career. I am not going to criticise Norman Deeley.

"These things happen in football. He came over the ball but he didn't do it with the aim of breaking my leg."

The Football Association will reportedly study all the available television footage of the incident before deciding whether to take retrospective action against McManaman.

FA disciplinary officials are also awaiting Halsey's match report.

Retrospective punishments are usually reserved for off-the-ball incidents, but if Halsey claims he did not see the challenge because he was unsighted, McManaman could be charged.

Haidara suffered potential knee ligament damage in the incident, which sparked a halftime row on the touchline that saw Newcastle assistant manager John Carver and Wigan coach Graham Barrow sent to the stands.

Wigan won the match 2-1.

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