By Dean White

9th Jan, 2022 | 4:17pm

Nikola Vlasic blasted by pundit after 'acting' in West Ham v Leeds United

Seb Hutchison and Dean Ashton were less than impressed by Nikola Vlasic’s play-acting as West Ham beat Leeds United on Sunday.

David Moyes’ men won 2-0 at the London Stadium to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup thanks to goals in each half by Manuel Lanzini and Jarrod Bowen.

But during the second half, Vlasic went down very easily as he was marked by Leeds defender Leo Hjelde and that led to criticism from ex-Irons striker Ashton.

“Vlasic has done that a few times when he’s come in from the left-hand side but I’m sorry, but he’s completely bought this free-kick,” said talkSPORT pundit Ashton during ITV’s live coverage of the match on Sunday afternoon [03:16pm].

“Hjelde’s got every right to be annoyed. It was a great little ‘Cruyff chop’ but I’m sorry but that’s what you call acting.”

ITV commentator Hutchison then said: “Well, he’s earned his Oscar there, Vlasic.”

Get over it

You see players do what Vlasic did every week yet they don’t get the criticism that Vlasic got.

We expected better from Ashton, who must have saw that there was some slight contact from Hjelde on Vlasic.

It was soft, yes. But was it a foul, yes?

Modern football has been tainted by referees lowering the threshold of what is a foul every year so why should we rise above it when every team in the world has players who do this?

Referees, in all honesty, need to clamp down on it and stop being so stupid to fall for these kinds of antics.

But until they change, players will keep doing it and we won’t blame Vlasic, nor any other player, for doing it as long as the referees keep awarding those soft free-kicks.

In other West Ham news, an “extraordinary” offer could see the Irons bag this centre-back in January.

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