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Football: Ince warns Clarke to let feet do the talking.

Byline: By Paul Berry

PAUL Ince today called on the Wolves' fans to forgive Leon Clarke his ill-judged celebration against Plymouth.

And the skipper admitted it was "silly" for the young striker to respond to his winning goal by bringing his finger to his lips in a 'shush' gesture in front of the home fans.

Clarke (pictured) was responding to previously receiving stick from a small section of supporters, as well as an inaccurate rumour that he was seen out on the town the night before Wolves faced Plymouth in the league on New Year's Eve.

"I've spoken to Leon and said maybe it was a bit silly to do that and he accepts it was," said Ince. "The only way to shut people up is to put the ball in the back of the net and he's done that.

"That's his answer, and he doesn't need the antics afterwards.

"He's a young lad and all I would ask is for the fans to stick with him. "We all make mistakes, even the 11,000 supporters at the game will have done so at some h point.

"The last thing you need is some of our own fans booing our i centre-forward - it's not good for him or the whole team -and hopefully we can all learn a lesson from what went on. "Leon knows there are games where he should have done better, and there are other issues involved as well, but when he's on the pitch he needs everyone's support.

"The goal will give him confidence and hopefully this will be a kick-start for him. "What happened happens, and hopefully we can sweep it under the carpet and start again with Luton on Friday." Boss Glenn Hoddle agreed that Clarke will have learned a lot from recent experience, but had no problem with the manner of his celebration.

"It's human nature," said Hoddle. "He took some stick a couple of weeks ago and that's the way he's reacted after putting the ball in the net.

"To be honest I don't think there's anything wrong with putting his finger to his lips - a lot worse happens in football these days. "It's not a problem, as long as he keeps going and putting the ball in the back of the net. "I've stuck by Leon, and am pleased for him, and hopefully getting a goal under his belt will give him confidence." MATCH REPORT: PAGES 3 2-33
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 9, 2006
Words:407
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