PFA chief's backing for Eduardo and Taylor
Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has offered his support to both Arsenal striker Eduardo and Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor.
Gordon Taylor, a former Blues player himself, has written to Eduardo and Martin Taylor following the latter's ill-fated tackle that broke the Croatian striker's leg just three minutes into last Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at St Andrew's.
Eduardo suffered a double compound fracture to his left leg after Martin Taylor's clumsy lunge and had to have emergency surgery at Selly Oak hospital. He is expected to be out of the game for at least nine months.
Meanwhile, the Blues defender, who manager Alex McLeish has said was 'mentally shattered' by the incident, has received death threats from some Croatian supporters and two men even tried to get into his car outside the Wast Hills training ground as the 28-year-old father of three left training on Monday.
"It is a very unfortunate situation. It was one of those footballing things that happens," Gordon Taylor said. "There have been some other bad injuries in the game.
"But there was immediate recognition that the lad is not a vindictive player, not a nasty player, and does not have a reputation for making poor challenges. In fact he is sometimes accused of being 'a gentle giant.'
"I have written to Martin and I believe he has the strength of character to overcome this. He has shown remorse and he went to see the lad in hospital. He is a good lad and I know how badly he feels about it.
"I have also written to Eduardo and it is a tragedy for him, his club and his country and he is going to miss out on playing in the Euro 2008 finals. The signs seem to be good that he will make a full recovery and you hope that is the case. I hope he returns to full fitness and that Martin also comes through this. You feel sorry for both parties."
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger initially called for the Blues defender to be banned from football after the incident, a statement he later retracted and Gordon Taylor said he hoped the incident would not affect relations between the two clubs.
"Managers do get inflamed," the PFA chief said. "Arsene is like that. I understand his reaction. It was over the top but, to be fair, he has since retracted it.
"You just hope that the good relationship between Birmingham and Arsenal remains. You hope that survives. I have a lot of admiration for both managers."
Meanwhile, a top psychologist said he believed Martin Taylor would need as much support if not more than injury victim Eduardo to come to terms with what has happened.
Professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University said Taylor should get counselling to deal with the mental anguish of injuring Eduardo.
"The player who is going to come off the worst in the long run is Taylor," he said.
"You could see how he reacted after the tackle. He is going to feel he has done some harm and potentially damaged someone's career. That is a very emotional thing to do because you begin to think 'what if that had happened to me? What if someone had tackled me like that?'
"I think he will be very upset and he ought to be looked at. He should be nurtured as well as Eduardo.
"Yes, it was a terrible tackle and he totally regrets it, but in the heat of a game, tackles like that occur, I'm afraid. I think he is going to be very upset and it could even affect his game."