Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill and midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker were reportedly involved in a bust-up at the club’s training ground on Thursday, with the manager sending the player home when he arrived on Friday.
O’Neill and Reo-Coker had to be separated by players following the altercation during training, although no punches were thrown and O’Neill denied reports that they had grappled with each other.
Reo-Coker was due to arrive for training on Friday, but the O’Neill sent him home, meaning he has been dropped ahead of the weekend’s match against Portsmouth at Villa Park.
The manager told the club’s website: “There was a mishap on the training ground. It’s a common occurrence between players but on this occasion, unfortunately, it was between the manager and a player.
“There was a bit of a contretemps and that is unfortunate. Nigel didn’t train this morning and obviously won’t play tomorrow. I have dealt with the issue how I see fit and that’s the end of it. Come Monday, we’re back to normal again. I am the custodian of this place – my rules apply.”
Reo-Coker, who claims to be homesick in Birmingham, has also been unhappy at being regularly played out of position at right-back.