Dowie: 'I did far worse things on the pitch in my day'

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The Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie feels David Beckham may have been "a little bit silly" to admit he intentionally got booked against Wales - but declared himself guilty of far "worse things" during his own playing days.

The Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie feels David Beckham may have been "a little bit silly" to admit he intentionally got booked against Wales - but declared himself guilty of far "worse things" during his own playing days.

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has increased the pressure on the Football Association to take disciplinary action against the England skipper, whose lunge at Ben Thatcher earned him his second yellow card of the World Cup qualifiers, ruling him out of last night's tie in Azerbaijan, a game the Real Madrid midfielder would have missed anyway due to injury.

"I think it has been over-egged to say the least," said Dowie, who won 59 caps for Northern Ireland and earned a reputation as a no-nonsense centre-forward.

"The admission is a little bit silly but I think it has happened in years gone by and it is nothing new.

"It must be difficult for David living in the spotlight like he does and what has been overshadowed is an absolutely magnificent strike and some of the desire and hunger which he showed."

Dowie, 39, declared: "I have probably done worse things on the pitch than David has, and when you look back now, you do regret it.

"When it was a little bit more blood and thunder, centre-halves and centre-forwards were at it hammer and tongs, there were things, off-the-ball incidents that I now regret that shouldn't happen and if they were picked up nowadays, you might be serving a custodial sentence for what was done to me or I had done to other people.

"But that was then, you had to play against people who would snap you in two and you had to look after yourself. It is a little bit more demure these days, which is great and a lot more entertaining."

The former England defender, Lee Dixon, echoed Dowie's comments and said that Beckham's tactic of being deliberately booked in order to earn a suspension had been going on for years.

Dixon said: "A few people might raise an eyebrow as it has never been admitted to before. But that sort of thing has been going on for years. It's not cheating - it's common sense."

Dixon suggested that Beckham's tactic to earn the suspension for a game he would have missed through injury anyhow was just an act of professionalism.

He said: "If that upsets people then so be it. To miss the Azerbaijan game is not the worst thing in the world and if he is injured then it makes sense.

"I don't really see why there is a big hoo-ha about it. We're not talking about playing on the park here, it's a professional game played at the highest level and in international football you need your best players on the pitch."

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