Jon Walters has lifted the lid on a tell-tale sign to look out for as to when a player is deliberately trying to get subbed.
The former Stoke man’s revelation comes after Granit Xhaka accused his own Arsenal team-mates of being scared during a second-half horror show at Watford.
Walters reckons hardman Xhaka was right to the boot in – and he’s seen himself moments where players fake injuries just to get subbed in a game when they are playing badly.
There is no suggestion that Arsenal did likewise against Watford, although some would argue they would have been better off without flop defenders David Luiz and Sokratis on the pitch.
“One to watch is when the other team is losing 1-0 or 2-0, someone will go off with an injury,” Walters told the Liquid Football Podcast, which is produced by JOE in partnership with Paddy Power.
“You see it in games. Just watch a game and you’ll see that it’s 2-0 or 3-0 and suddenly a player will go off with an injury. They won’t be injured, they just won’t fancy it.”
As for Xhaka, Walters says he was right to point the finger and praised him for having the guts to speak so openly.
“If it was a young lad, someone like [Matteo] Guendouzi, it would be different but Xhaka’s a respected player and that’s okay to say,” he said.
“The thing is he has a point. I’ve seen it happen before, you might even be 3-0 up and then suddenly you concede a goal and you can see people go under.
Instead of showing for the ball, they make pretend runs and then just hide behind a player.
“You can’t find them, and you think ‘I’ve got no one to pass the ball too’.
“People are shouting, but then they’re hiding. They literally hide in the game.”