Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton has shrugged off an ugly attack from TV presenter Eamonn Holmes.
Sky News breakfast host Holmes used the unacceptable C-word to describe Barton in the October edition of lads mag Maxim, causing some upset at his Newcastle club, who alerted Barton to the outburst.
Manchester United supporter Holmes, whose Five Live Saturday morning sports programme starts again in a fortnight, went on to say: "What is Joey Barton about. He's an absolute animal, He's the type of guy who'd eat his own young, he'd start a fight in an empty room. He's an irritant."
But Barton, recovering from a pre-season injury that has delayed his Premiership debut, shrugged off the attack from Holmes, whom he has never met. He said only that it would make it interesting when their paths eventually cross.
A friend of Barton's said: "It's pathetic. Holmes takes himself very seriously as a presenter but he is trying to show off for the benefit of the magazine who are doing the interviewing. He's just trying to be outrageous for their sake.
"Joey hardly knows who he is. He mixes him up with the astrologer Russell Grant."