Andros Townsend has conceded he must eradicate diving from his game after apologising to the referee, Mike Dean, for the first-half tumble which earned him a booking in Tottenham Hotspur's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday.
The 22-year-old was watched by the England manager, Roy Hodgson, at White Hart Lane as he impressed for over an hour in direct confrontation with the left-back, Ashley Cole. Yet Townsend rather blotted his copybook by tumbling to the turf in a challenge with Frank Lampard, who withdrew his leg before the Spurs player fell, to earn a first-half caution and prompt his confession as the players went in a the break.
"It was definitely a yellow card," Townsend said. "I said to the referee at half-time that, as I have come inside, the leg was there and [Lampard] has pulled out at the last minute but I still went over, so it was a deserved yellow card. I have got to kick it out of my game. Everything happens so fast. I didn't have time to react to him pulling out at the last second. It's sort of instinct. You make mistakes and that dive was a mistake.
"I apologised to the referee and said I thoroughly deserved it and, hopefully, I won't do that again. It was a deserved booking. The penalty I won against Swansea [last month] people said was a dive but there was a little touch and, if you're running that fast, you are going to go over. When you watch it in slow motion it doesn't look like a foul but running that fast you go over at the slightest touch. If there's contact, it's not a dive but he [Lampard] pulled out here."
Lampard concurred with the youngster's assessment. "Maybe he was waiting for contact and it didn't come and he fell over and, you know what, you get a yellow card and carry on," he said. "We don't need to turn it into a diving campaign because that would get legs very quickly. He's a great talent and he's going to be a big player for Tottenham and for England."
Hodgson would no doubt agree and is expected to retain Townsend in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland. The Tottenham player was included in the party for last month's fixtures but went unused and is awaiting a first cap, though his chances of involvement have improved with Arsenal's Theo Walcott ruled out of both matches after stomach surgery.
"He [Hodgson] said to me before the two games last month that he had been watching me not only this season, but for the last six months when I was at Queens Park Rangers on loan," Townsend said. "He told me to continue what I am doing and I will get in the squad, so that is what I am going to try to do – just try to play well every time I have an opportunity and, hopefully, I can break in to that squad again.
"I play my game with no fear whether it's against Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs or whoever. I just go out there, enjoy myself and try to make things happen."