Wolves skipper Henry muses on football as "a contact sport".

Wolves captain Karl Henry has dismissed criticism of his treatment of Newcastle's Joey Barton and reminded his critics that football "is a contact sport".

Henry admits he was fortunate not to have been booked against the Magpies, but he has no intention of changing his style and does not believe his fellow professionals would want him to.

"I think Match of the Day's editor's got it wrong," said Henry of the highlights shown after the game two weeks ago. "They pieced together me winning the ball off Barton but could have shown three or four of his tackles which weren't that clever. I'd say my last one deserved a yellow.

"The rest of them were fair. (Newcastle's) Alan Smith was saying, "Great stuff," when I went in to tackle Barton. He'd smash into one of our players and I'd say the same. That banter is rare. But it does happen.

"That was the case with Tim Cahill at Everton the week before. I picked him up a few times, we had a good scrap. He was the same. It was light-hearted. Good banter between players who are totally committed to it."

Henry says that was not the case with Barton however.

"He wasn't committed with his tackling," Henry continued in the Daily Mail. "He did a few things during the game that I thought were poor. He pushed Dave Jones into Matt Jarvis at one stage when Jarvo was running with the ball.

"On Football First, the commentator said: "Oh, Wolves' players are falling into each other". We weren't. Barton pushed him. He's been a bit sly. I didn't enjoy that."

Newcastle gave as good as they got in a full-bloodied contest at Molineux and Henry admits he has most respect for those players that can give and take it in equal measure.

"People like Michael Essien have my respect," he added. "I don't think I have come up against a player who was as physically strong as him.

"He certainly made me realise that I need to go into the gym and get on the weights. He was strong, good on the ball and capable of putting his foot in.

"Javier Mascherano's tenacity impressed me. He's a really good player. He went in to win tackles. Personally, I like Steve Sidwell, too. When I've played against him I've always had tough games. He's my type of player. Closes people down well, gets about, passes well.

"Scott Parker is another and he likes to get forward as well. Now we are on the subject, Johnny Heitinga at Everton. He will mix it up, too.

"Steven Gerrard is a great player but he works in a different way. He was putting his foot in against us because it was getting a bit tetchy but he works differently. He is a good, clean tackler."

Henry is also critical of those that moan about the Premier League's more physical outfits.

"Our aim at Wolves is never, ever to go out and kick anyone. It's to get close and win the ball," said Henry. "I know there are bad fouls and people have to be punished but I was sent off at the Emirates last season and I thought it was so unjust. It's still a contact sport. As long as I've been playing there's been contact.

"And tackling should be allowed. It's an art of the game. You don't mean to tell me that any crowd in the Premier League doesn't enjoy one of their players winning the ball with a hard but fair challenge? And these days cameras are there to protect people. I like that.

"You know, we aren't going to let people come to Molineux and play fancy football. We have to stop them doing it.

"It's like people moaning about Stoke and their long throw-ins. Anything you can do within the laws of the game to win that game is allowed. So be it. No-one can moan. No-one can moan about Stoke throwing the ball in 40 yards and scoring from it. It's allowed."

 
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