Dowie: Lay off Routledge
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Iain Dowie has leapt to the defence of underfire winger Wayne Routledge.Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie has leapt to the defence of Wayne Routledge after the winger came in for criticism from the club's fans last weekend.
Routledge angrily threw his shirt to the ground at the end of The Eagles' 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough after being criticised by home fans.
A small section of Palace supporters are unhappy with the 20-year-old for refusing to sign a new contract at Selhurst Park, questioning his commitment to the club's bid to avoid the drop.
However, Dowie insists, despite his contractual situation, Routledge has given his all to the Palace cause this term, and identified him as the team's outstanding performer against Middlesbrough.
"What disappointed me was the fans' reaction to Wayne Routledge," Dowie told Sky Sports News.
"Wayne was our outstanding player on the pitch I felt, he is a young 19-year-old (sic 20) who has been an ever-present in my team, and his level of performance in that game was fantastic.
"We are at the sharp end of the season and everyone has to get behind each other, and I don't think you should be questioning the commitment of Rouledge.
"He's committed 100 percent on the pitch and works his socks off for me whenever he's played, the only thing is people will question him because he has not signed a contract, but that's Wayne's prerogative.
"The situation has been running on and on and what I have to say is that at any time he has never let me down and I am 100 percent supportive of him."
Dowie did, though, concede that Routledge's actions on Saturday had been unacceptable, but insists the player is genuinely remorseful.
"What we need is everyone at the club, fans and players alike to get behind him. Wayne clearly regrets what he did and has been told that should never happen and he's aware of that.
"He made a mistake but at the same time so did the person abusing him in light of his performance.
"By all means voice anger, but at this stage of season you have to be supportive, and it's very important there's no dissention at all.
"We have to be a together unit, fans and players alike and they have been like that, the fans have been great."
Dowie also went on to deny claims that he had clashed with chairman Simon Jordan after the defeat last weekend.
Some reports claimed that the Palace supreme had entered the dressing room to voice his anger at the level of performance, but Dowie has dismissed the story as utter fiction.
"It's an absolute load of rubbish," he continued. "I don't know where they come from.
"There are absolutely no problems, the chairman never comes into the dressing room unless he comes in to say well done or unlucky.
"I didn't see him in the dressing room before or after the game as he had to shoot off to get a flight so I think people are mischief-making."