Modern-day players do not know tackling guidelines, admits old-school Reo-Coker
Bolton's combative midfielder Nigel
Reo-Coker goes into battle with Manchester United on Saturday admitting
that players no longer know how they are allowed to tackle.
A week of controversy has seen Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany shown a straight red card for
his two-footed challenge on United winger Nani, while Liverpool's Glenn
Johnson escaped punishment for a similar lunge at City defender Joleon
Lunge: Kompany was dismissed for this tackle on Nani
Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden is still recovering from the ugly knee injury he suffered on the club's last visit to Old Trafford in March when Sir Alex Ferguson argued that it was the damage inflicted by Jonny Evans rather than the tackle itself that saw his Northern Ireland defender sent off.
As Bolton prepare to face United again, Reo-Coker believes that even the authorities are confused over the rules.
'Everyone can have such a long discussion on what tackle is deemed fair and what tackle is dangerous,' he said.
'I don't really think there are clear enough guidelines to know how you can tackle in the modern game.
'If I feel I can win a tackle, I'll go for it. I can't change. Who knows Even the powers-that-be don't really know the true rules about tackling themselves.
Fine line: Johnson got away with a two-footed challenge on Lescott
'If you speak to people (about Kompany's challenge), 50 per cent will say it's a sending off and 50 per cent will say it's not. I thought it might have been a sending-off but others disagree.'
Reo-Coker, 27, won praise from Bolton's FA Cup opponents Macclesfield Town last weekend when he stayed on his feet after an ugly challenge from Carl Tremarco.
The Macclesfield defender was booked but would almost certainly have been sent off had Reo-Coker made more of the situation.
He added: 'The player apologised and their coach thanked me after the game. I knew it wasn't malicious.
'I'm a big fan of the old school when you can tackle players, roll your sleeves up to get dirty and come off with a few scrapes, so it doesn't bother me.
Tackling the problem: Tottenham's Kyle Walker is challenged by Reo-Coker
'When you see players going down so easily from any contact, it kills the game. That's not what the English game is about.'
Reo-Coker knows he could face one of the most notorious tacklers in the English game if Ferguson gives Paul Scholes the opportunity to continue his comeback on Saturday.
'I've had many encounters with Paul Scholes and I do find it amusing,' said the former England Under-21 midfielder.
'He's so talented but tackling just isn't one of his qualities. You have to give it to him though because he still tries.'