Crystal Palace fans have become used to the sight of academy graduate Wilfried Zaha being kicked relentlessly by opponents each week but last night, it sounds as though fellow youth product was given a rough time when starting for Charlton against Bradford, prompting manager Karl Robinson to rip into the match officials at full-time.
As we all know, having a winger with skill and pace at their disposal can be both a blessing and a curse, with plenty of opposition players choosing to kick lumps out of them when they struggle to cope with what they bring to the table and judging by Robinson’s comments, that’s exactly what happened at The Valley on Tuesday evening.
With the Addicks well in the hunt for a play-off place and Bradford sitting just above them, the game always had the makings of a feisty affair but clearly, the arrival of new Bantams boss Simon Grayson provoked his players into stepping it up a notch under the floodlights in south east London, enraging Robinson in the process.
Known to be something of a hot-head when things don’t go his way, particularly in the immediate aftermath of a game, Karl’s comments could well see him ending up with a fine in the coming days, although having grown used to the feeling of helplessness he was experiencing following the victimisation of his wide man, I can honestly say I feel sympathy for him.
Having started last night’s game before being replaced in the 87th minute, the hope is that Kaikai goes from strength to strength at Charlton before returning to Selhurst Park as a more battle-hardened operator. Saying that, if his progression follows anything like the same path as that of Wilfried Zaha, he could well be in for regular kickings from League One full-backs who don’t enjoy being made to look foolish in front of a sizeable audience.
Will he be labelled as a “diver” and a “cheat” in years to come, simply because he’s too good for the men tasked with marking him? We live in hope.