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Harry Kane, Jack Grealish... Premier League's most fouled players

Published on: 25 November 2020

Tottenham striker Harry Kane was praised for his 'really clever' ability at drawing fouls by Jamie Carragher this week.

He was branded 'the most street-wise footballer' in England's top flight by the former Liverpool defender while Graeme Souness has previously insisted that being the most fouled player in the Premier League is nothing to be proud of.

Souness was speaking of Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish last season when speculation linking the 25-year-old to a move to Manchester United was swirling around.

'If I was a player, I wouldn’t want to be the most fouled player in the league. That means I’m holding onto the ball too long,' the ex-Liverpool man told Sky Sports.

'That means I’m not seeing the picture early enough, I’m taking extra touches when I don’t need to.'

England international Grealish was the most fouled player last season, being brought down a staggering 167 times, 47 more times than anyone else. But has his compatriot Kane usurped him this campaign?

The Spurs talisman came under the microscope when he was awarded a penalty against Brighton earlier this month.

The 27-year-old was criticised after he won a spot-kick by backing into an aerial challenge with Adam Lallana.

On Match of the Day 2, Martin Keown said: 'He looks at his opponent, knows what he's going to do and makes a back for him. I think it's dangerous play from Harry Kane… I don't even think it's a penalty.'

Keown's BBC colleague Gary Lineker supported the theory on Twitter, saying Kane 'bought that one'.

However Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho defended his player, saying: 'Harry Kane is there to score goals. He just wants to control the ball. He sees the ball in the air, he uses his body to protect and Lallana was reckless. He made a mistake, period.

'It is a foul, direct free-kick or penalty. It's for the VAR to decide. The referee decided direct free-kick but the VAR decided it was inside because it was on the line. It is not about being clever or not clever.'

Kane has, in fact, been fouled just 18 times in the 2020-21 season, half as much as Villa star Grealish. The forward was fouled only 44 times last campaign also.

Midfielder Grealish still leads the way this season as he's been brought down 36 times, eight more than the second-most fouled player - Liverpool's Sadio Mane.

Grealish was brought down for Villa's only penalty so far this season in their 4-3 defeat by Southampton.

While Liverpool's sensational forward Mane was brought down in the penalty area by Manchester City right back Kyle Walker in their 1-1 draw this month. The 28-year-old has been brought down 28 times this season.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is the third-most fouled player in the Premier League on 24.

Behind those three tricky customers are two somewhat surprise inclusions in the top 10 most fouled players. Both Brighton full back Tariq Lamptey and Villa centre back Ezri Konsa have been fouled 22 times.

Twenty-year-old Lamptey, who has impressed for the Seagulls this season, has been brought down for the two penalties Graham Potter's side have been given this season.

Pacey attackers Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle and West Brom duo Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana have all been fouled at least 20 times this season.

Another quick and skilful winger Eberechi Eze, who joined from QPR for £19.5million this summer, has also been felled 20 times this season.

Remarkably, Kane does not feature in the top 10 with Everton playmaker James Rodriguez the 10th most fouled player in the English top flight. The Colombia international has been brought down 19 times, one more occasion than Kane.

'If anyone after this piece tells me he [Kane] is cheating or going down, it's not. It is a big part of the game and a really clever part of the game,' Carragher added.

Evidently an element to the Tottenham star's game that can still be developed.


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