Sheffield Wednesday striker Leon Best insists he is no diver and would never cheat to win a penalty.
Best, on loan from Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season, was sent tumbling in the penalty area after a challenge by Richard Dunne in the 33rd minute of the Owls’ 3-0 midweek win over Queens Park Rangers.
But Best, in his third loan spell at Hillsborough, is adamant he did not simulate to win the penalty.
“I was through on goal,” he said. “It was a great ball from Chris [Maguire]. I was going to hit it with my left foot but I thought I would take another touch because he [Dunne] was coming in so I tried to get in front of him and he clipped my knee. It took me down.
“I probably could have got the ball but I wouldn’t have been able to score. I lost my balance a little bit so I went down. There was definite contact. I’m not a diver. I do try and stay on my feet.”
Dunne was red carded for bringing down Best and Maguire stroked home the subsequent spot-kick as Stuart Gray’s side cruised to a third successive home victory.
The centre-back told his QPR teammate Gary O’Neil that he “didn’t touch” Best. R’s assistant boss Kevin Bond and O’Neil were both in agreement that the decision was the turning point of the Championship encounter.
Best added: “Richard is a friend of mine from the Republic of Ireland squad. I said to him I didn’t dive and he should know that from playing with me that I’m not like that. That’s football. It happens. Again, if I tried to stay on my feet and didn’t score, it could have been a different game.”
The 27-year-old is enjoying playing regular first-team football again, having been frozen out at Blackburn. He has now notched three goals in eight Owls outings.
including two in his last two starts.
Best, who missed the majority of last season due to injury, said: “I’ve not been playing at Blackburn so I came here to get games, get fit and get back to scoring. I love football and I love to be playing.
“It was a frustrating time at Blackburn not playing. I thank Stuart Gray for giving me the chance to come here and play. It was hard in the first few games getting my fitness up and playing when you are nowhere near fit.”
Best, who is expecting his partner to shortly give birth to twins, refused to be drawn on his long-term future, saying he wants to focus on keeping his place in the Wednesday side and staying injury-free. He is contracted to Blackburn until the summer of 2016.