Johnson pays for diving jibes

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The Independent Football

The England striker Andrew Johnson believes accusations he is a diver were partly to blame for the ankle injury he suffered last weekend. The Everton forward and his manager David Moyes have been forced to fend off regular jibes about apparent "simulation" in the penalty box and the 25-year-old has made a conscious effort to stay on his feet more recently.

But the former Crystal Palace striker has said the challenge with Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, which has ruled him out for a month, could have been avoided.

"Usually I try to ride those sort of challenges and jump over the goalkeeper but I have been branded a diver for doing that," he said.

"My foot was planted and it was a sore one. It was a strange challenge because he came through two of us, myself and Dave Unsworth, to try and get the ball. It was a silly challenge and it took us both out but I'm sure he didn't mean it.

"I've gone in for a challenge and heard a crack. I looked down to check that my ankle was still in place. I was so scared that it would be pointing the wrong way but thankfully, I've got out of jail," Johnson added.

Johnson bears no grudge against Kirkland, and he acknowledges that the goalkeeper is not the kind of player to intentionally hurt opponents. "He sent me a text during the week to make sure I was OK and he said he hopes I am back playing soon. It was nice to hear from him."