I’m no diver, says former PNE loan man Anthony Gordon

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Anthony Gordon has hit back at critics who have accused him of diving.

The Everton winger – who spent a period on loan at Preston north End the season before last – defended himself against the claims after starring to help England Under-21s reach Euro 2023.

Former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher and Danny Murphy accused the 21-year-old of diving last season and he was booked for simulation in the Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield in April.

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Gordon was targeted by Albania in England Under-21s’ 3-0 win in Chesterfield on Tuesday, which booked their spot at next summer’s Euros, with Ipswich’s Armando Dobra sent off for two fouls on him.

England's Anthony Gordon (right) battles with Albania's Albion MarkuEngland's Anthony Gordon (right) battles with Albania's Albion Marku
England's Anthony Gordon (right) battles with Albania's Albion Marku

Everton boss Frank Lampard has already defended him and Gordon insists he has no case to answer.

He said: “People have been calling me a diver of late, I’m not sure why. If you look back at the games, I’m getting kicked quite a lot. I’ll take it as a compliment because I must be doing something well.

“I know what I bring to the table. I know I’m not a diver, videos prove that. I might go down every now and then but that’s because I’m getting kicked. I don’t know what people want me to do. I’m just going to do my best and keep getting at people.

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“It happens to really good one-v-one players. If someone is good one-v-one they are going to get past a lot of players and hacked down every now and then. I’m not sure the reasons why we get called divers.

“I spoke to the gaffer (Lampard) after the Liverpool game and he was saying to me ‘I don’t think people understand the speed you are travelling at’.

“Any touch to me at that speed is going to knock me off balance. Whether it’s a foul or not I’m probably going to end on the floor as I’m travelling at high speed.”

Gordon set up Cameron Archer’s first under-21s goal late on after Flo Balogun’s double had put Lee Carsley’s men in control.

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With two games left, they cannot be overhauled at the top of Group G owing to their better head-to-head record against nearest challengers the Czech Republic.

It capped a breakthrough season for Gordon after he helped Everton beat Premier League relegation, but he admits to feeling the weight of expectation.

“I did feel like that towards the end,” he said. “Next year I’m looking to push on and be in a winning side. I don’t want to be doing that every year. It’s not where Everton should be.”