Portsmouth midfielder Richard Hughes has hit back at Paul Merson after the former Fratton Park hero picked him out as a weak link in Tony Adams' struggling team.
Merson remarked that he feared for both Adams and Portsmouth if they were relying on players like Hughes "who was there with me but could not get into the side when we were still in the Championship".
Former Scotland international Hughes, who has agreed a new two-year contract with Portsmouth, was shocked to be pinpointed by his former colleague, who is now working in the media.
Hughes said: "I have heard the comments from Merse and he has had plenty of time to come out and explain himself but I find it strange that he brought me into an article that wasn't about Richard Hughes but was about Portsmouth.
"If it wasn't personal then I would have expected him to contact me but he hasn't. Merse is working for the media. It is a game of opinion, I know, and he is paid to give his.
"In this case no-one asked what I was like as a player, he just brought me in to it.
"He is wrong to do that but it does not surprise me that he has not shown a bit of class because it is something I don't associate with him. What he has apparently said is not only wrong but inaccurate.
"He said I couldn't get in the team but in fact I played the first seven or eight games the year we won the Championship but then got injured and it was difficult to get back in with a torn hamstring.
"When I did come back I chopped the top of my finger off and it was also difficult to play when I was in hospital.
"I hope Paul does have something to say to me because I've tried to ring him and he seems to have changed his number. However he should know mine because it's always been the same and I would like the chance to talk to him."