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IT isn't Stephen Hunt's knee that has bothered me this week, but the knee-jerk reaction to his unfortunate clash with Petr Cech. While there is no doubting the gravity of Cech's head injury, the aftermath is what has been most sickening.

Jose Mourinho may feel he is within his rights to speak out given what has happened to Cech and the fact that he faces months before he can play again.

Thankfully, Cech - and his deputy Carlo Cudi-cini, who was also carried off against Reading - are on the road to recovery.

But Mourinho's outburst really does grate when he has had the nerve not only to criticise certain individuals and organisations for their conduct, but also to demand action.

It hasn't been helped Arsene Wenger's claim that a 'keeper is going to die one day.

I'm sorry, but the last time I looked football was a contact sport. Part of the risk of playing is that you may get injured - whatever your position.

Anyone who plays the game regularly will know that 'keepers already get more protection than ever before.

The days when they were routinely barged into are long gone. Come within an inch of them nowadays and the referee's whistle is blown.

To suggest that they need more protection, or worse still to start wearing some kind of protective headgear, is taking things too far.

Do we want our players to look like American footballers?

That's the route we'll go down if the physical element of the game continues to be eroded.

Surely our footballers are made of sterner stuff?
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 22, 2006
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