Dowie reprimands Routledge but attacks Palace fans' abuse

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The Independent Online

The Crystal Palace manager, Iain Dowie, has reprimanded Wayne Routledge for throwing his shirt to the ground after the home defeat to Middlesbrough - but maintains that the sought-after young winger remains committed to helping the Eagles stay in the Premiership.

The Crystal Palace manager, Iain Dowie, has reprimanded Wayne Routledge for throwing his shirt to the ground after the home defeat to Middlesbrough - but maintains that the sought-after young winger remains committed to helping the Eagles stay in the Premiership.

The 19-year-old has been subjected to a hostile reception from some sections of the Selhurst Park faithful following his decision to turn down the offer of a new contract with Palace, and looks set to leave in the summer. At the end of Saturday's disappointing 1-0 loss, Routledge let frustration get the better of him and threw off his shirt as he left the pitch.

The winger - who has come up through the youth ranks of the south London club - swiftly apologised to his manager for the unsportsmanlike gesture, which Dowie called: "Absolutely wrong."

The Palace manager continued: "We are not condoning that, but he is a young boy and has made a mistake. I think everyone at that age made mistakes.

"He has been told in no uncertain terms that it will never happen again - and it won't happen again. But it doesn't justify someone giving him a mouthful of vitriol."

Dowie maintains that all Palace fans should concentrate on what Routledge is capable of on the pitch, rather than worrying about where he might be playing his football next season.

"Wayne's actions are regrettable - and he regretted them from the moment he did them. He has let me, the club and the fans down - but at the same time his performance was outstanding," reflected the Eagles manager.

Dowie - who represented Northern Ireland as well as playing for Palace, Southampton, West Ham and Queen's Park Rangers - recalled: "I have been at grounds where you get abuse. It is hard, but you have got to take it.

"There are times when you want to stare at someone in the crowd who has said something to you - it riles you.

"But you can't have that. You have got to control yourself. It is difficult, but you have to."

The Palace manager, 40, was, however, quick to talk up his young midfielder's attitude.

"Anyone who ever questions Wayne's commitment to the team is mad."

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