Cobblers and McWilliams faced with a conundrum after midfielder's red card

It was a lonely walk off for Shaun McWilliams.It was a lonely walk off for Shaun McWilliams.
It was a lonely walk off for Shaun McWilliams.
Youngster was dismissed just 18 minutes into Saturday's game

Cobblers boss Keith Curle says he is reluctant to take away Shaun McWilliams' 'enthusiasm for a tackle' despite the midfielder's red card against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The 22-year-old is no stranger to a tackle but against Rovers he stepped the wrong side of the line when going in high and late on defender Andy Butler after just 18 minutes, with referee Graham Salisbury quick to whip out his red card.

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McWilliams now faces a three-game ban and whilst his tenacious, tigerish attitude is admired by his manager and supporters, there is a fine line he must tread given the nature of the modern game.

"I know Shaun will tackle anything and anybody and that's in his nature," said Curle. "He has an enthusiasm to go and find the ball and make tackles and it's something we don't want to take away from him.

"He's 100 per cent trying to win the ball and if anything the lad has kicked the ball against Shaun, but it's about timing. He's committed himself to the tackle, the lad's a yard away from it and commits to the tackle.

"When you're going into the tackle, you've not got time to think about the angle of your studs, the trajectory of the ball and the speed of the opponent. You just see an opportunity to go for the ball and you go for it and that's in Shaun's nature.

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"Shaun's bided his time, he's waited for an opportunity and he's come in and we've seen the best of Shaun. When the opposition have got the ball, you want Shaun McWilliams in your team. That's not a criticism, it's a plus point about Shaun's game. He sees the tackle and wants to go for the tackle because he wants to win the ball."

Ricky Holmes added: "You can't really do that in this day and age. It's a little bit harsh but sometimes they give it, sometimes they don't and I think that ruined the game for us.

"Shaun will learn from that. I think he just wanted to get into the game and get into them and that's how he plays. Unfortunately he got sent off and then the first goal is sloppy on our behalf and then it's an uphill battle from there, but we've got to learn from it quickly."

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