Martinez: Williams not nasty

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez says Swansea defender Ashley

Williams is “not a nasty footballer” after striking Robin van

Persie with a ball hit from close range.

The Manchester United forward was lying on the ground following

a foul when Williams kicked the ball into the back of his head

during Sunday’s Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Van Persie was “lucky to

be alive” after the incident in the 1-1 draw.

Martinez, who managed Swansea before joining the Latics in 2009,

admitted he could understand Ferguson’s reaction but does not

believe Williams, a player he signed and knows well, acted out of

malicious intent.

“You see the incident and it is a very, very dangerous

situation,” Martinez said.

“If you see one of your players with a bang on the back of the

head it is really dangerous and it can have bad consequences. You

can understand that.

“I signed Ashley Williams for Swansea and I know his character

inside out. I can guarantee you without even looking at the

incident that he is not a nasty footballer.

“He is a winner and fully committed, a leader and a captain, and

I don’t for one second doubt that he did not do that on


“It is an action of the game. He can show frustration – it is an

emotional game and it is very unfortunate that it hits Van Persie

in a part of the body where he could have been hurt heavily, and

you don’t want to see that.

“But from my point of view, I know Ashley Williams really well –

when you sign a player you find out about a player and I can

guarantee you he is not the type of footballer who would do that on