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'It's just unprofessional. If you look at any kind of work environment, it’s frowned upon'

Ireland striker Rianna Jarrett says ‘there is no place’ in football for incidents like Sergio Agüero’s contact with Sian Massey-Ellis.

Sergio Agüero put his hand on the assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Manchester City’s 1-0 over Arsenal.
Sergio Agüero put his hand on the assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Manchester City’s 1-0 over Arsenal.

IRELAND STRIKER RIANNA Jarrett says Sergio Agüero’s contact with assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis was “unprofessional” during the Premier League clash of Manchester City and Arsenal at the weekend. 

Like many across the world, Brighton & Hove Albion star Jarrett has seen the viral video over and over since the incident occurred on Saturday evening, with strong opinions split on social media after.

The City ace has been highly criticised for putting his arm on the shoulder and neck of official Massey-Ellis while disputing a throw-in call that went against him early in the second half of his side’s 1-0 win over the Gunners.

Under rules introduced in 2016, players can be cautioned or sent off for touching match officials, depending on the nature of the incident, but Aguero’s actions went unpunished and it looks like he’ll face no retrospective action.

The Argentinian “should know better,” his former team-mate Micah Richards said on Sky Sports, while City manager Pep Guardiola defended Aguero in his post-match press conference, stating:

Come on guys. Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.”

Girls in Green attacker Jarrett thinks differently.

Asked how it made her feel ahead of her side’s all-important Euro 2022 qualifier against Ukraine on Friday in Kiev [KO 5pm Irish time, RTÉ Two], the Wexford native said:

“Looking at it, we were always told as players, one not to confront the officials and two, we’re definitely not to put our hands on the officials, whether that’s a male or a female.

“It’s just unprofessional. If you look at any kind of work environment, it’s frowned upon. It’s not right to put your hands on someone, whether it’s in a friendly gesture or not.

“Obviously seeing that video over and over again, he shouldn’t have done it and I think himself, he knows he shouldn’t have done it.

“There is no place for it, whether it’s a man putting his hands on a female or a female putting her hands on a man. It’s just not accepted in a professional environment.”

26-year-old Jarrett is hoping to cap a huge individual 12 months with a monumental qualifier victory on Friday. A win or draw will see Vera Pauw’s side secure second place in Group I and playoff spot, at least, with one game to go in their Euro 2022 qualifying campaign.

In sealing a result against Ukraine, the Girls in Green would come one step closer to making history and reaching a first-ever major tournament.

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That’s exactly where former Wexford Youths star wants to be, reaching new heights after leaving part-time football and a full-time 9-5 job on these shores in January to sign her first professional deal at Brighton, where she’s enjoying life alongside Cork duo Denise O’Sullivan — who she describes as “phenomenal” — and Megan Connolly through the 2020/21 Women’s Super League season.

jarrett Jarrett poses for a portrait at the team's current base in Duisburg, Germany. Source: SPORTSFILE.

Having had her finest night in an Irish shirt against Ukraine at Tallaght Stadium last October, Jarrett knows just how important her role as a central striker will be this time around, should she get the nod to start, with scoring top of the to-do list.

A three-time cruciate victim in the past — she certainly feels Virgil Van Dijk’s pain — the attacker realises the huge opportunity that lies ahead, not just for Ireland, but for Ukraine too, and is hoping her side can get the business done, and lift the nation in these tough times.

“I spoke about the game being in our hands in terms of what we bring to it,” Jarrett noted, “but if you flip it, it’s in their hands as well.

“They have more games left in three, we have only one against Germany. So they know coming into this game, it’s massive. They know they possibly under-estimated us in the first game so they have a point to prove in terms of that.

“It’s definitely important that we don’t under-estimate them. It’s a Cup final, winner takes all. It’s important we put our best foot forward, that we are focused and know exactly what the task at hand is.”

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Emma Duffy

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