McLeish speaks up for Ridgewell

20 October 2009 10:41
Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has defended centre-half Liam Ridgewell after his tackle on Theo Walcott at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.Walcott has been sidelined for a month with knee ligament damage and there was some press criticism of Ridgewell. But McLeish told his club's website: "I don't want to be spending all week talking about what was an excellent and perfectly timed challenge. "Ridgewell did everything right with the tackle, which was firm but fair." He added: "This will be my final word on the matter because, as I'm sure not just Blues fans but supporters across the country will have seen on the highlights, it was a very good challenge, as referee Lee Probert thought too as no free-kick was awarded." The match was the first meeting between Birmingham and Arsenal since the fixture at St Andrews in February 2008 when Eduardo suffered a broken leg in a tackle from defender Martin Taylor. Taylor was also defended by his club and manager after the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger initially said that he should "never play football again," though that comment was later retracted. After the incident last weekend, Wenger said of Ridgewell's challenge on Walcott: "It was a tackle which cut through, without any restriction. "I felt it was a tackle meant to impress. I do not know whether he wanted to play the ball. If he touched just the ball, then that is part of the game. "That is my first impression from the bench, but I would have to see it again." Ridgewell has only recently returned to action following a broken leg sustained last season.

Source: BBC_Sport