Stoke City: 'Diver' Luis Suarez is dragging forwards down, warns Michael Kightly
STOKE winger Michael Kightly says Luis Suarez's theatrics are giving forwards a bad name.
The City players were fuming over Suarez's performance against them in the goalless draw at Liverpool on Sunday, particularly for a second-half dive which went unpunished by referee Lee Mason.
Mason booked six Stoke players, but none from Liverpool to leave the City squad scratching their heads.
However, Kightly says play-acting puts enormous pressure on referees, and believes football would be a much better spectacle without theatrics such as those seen from Suarez.
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He said: "When you get a little touch – and he is screaming like he has broken his leg, you do think, 'Is he hurt?' But nine times out of 10, he's not.
"It is something we are trying to get out of the game. Glen Johnson, on the other hand, got a good whack and got up straight away.
"Referees have to try to stamp down on it.
"There is a difference between winning a penalty and just diving. Sometimes players know a tackle is coming in and ride it and go down. That's good play, winning a penalty.
"But sometimes, when you just dive with no touch at all, that's not good for the game."
In more fall-out from the Anfield game, Robert Huth has denied deliberately stamping on Suarez in the first half.
The defender landed his right foot on the striker's chest, leaving a mark on the Uruguay international.
However, Huth defended himself on Twitter, saying he hadn't meant to connect with the striker.
The Germany international said: "Not intentional – I made sure not to stamp. He was caught under me.
"But a good tussle with him. He's tougher than he lets on."
And Huth was given the all-clear yesterday when the referee confirmed he had seen the incident during the match and opted not to take action.
Meanwhile, Kightly says the Stoke players are proud to have Ryan Shawcross called-up by England.
The 25-year-old defender has joined Roy Hodgson's squad after being called up for World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland – at home on Friday and away next Tuesday respectively.
And Kightly has no doubt his captain will prove his selection is deserved if he gets on the pitch to earn his first cap.
He said: "He has been different class this season. He's a rock at the back, and if he gets his chance, he will do the job.
"We wish him all the best and hopefully he gets a cap."
Shawcross's only other call-up was for a friendly against Egypt in March 2010 when he was an unused substitute.
Should he get on the pitch, the centre-half will become the first Stoke player to play for the senior side since winger Mark Chamberlain in 1984.