Sunday 28 May 2017

'It happens more often in training' - Mark Hughes insists there's no animosity between Glenn Whelan and Joe Allen

Glenn Whelan of Republic of Ireland confronts Joe Allen of Wales during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Glenn Whelan of Republic of Ireland confronts Joe Allen of Wales during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Liam Blackburn

Mark Hughes was unconcerned when Stoke team-mates Joe Allen and Glenn Whelan clashed during the international break having seen far worse in the confines of a training ground.

Wales' ill-tempered trip to the Republic of Ireland last week saw a number of incidents, none more horrifying than the broken leg Seamus Coleman suffered from a Neil Taylor tackle, and two of Hughes' club players were involved in another flashpoint when Whelan's forearm struck Allen.

The two squared up to each other at the time, though Hughes insists it is water under the bridge now the pair are back in the Potteries, where Charlie Adam's jokes mean the incident is unlikely to be totally forgotten.

However, Hughes admits such run-ins are more frequent behind closed doors on the training pitch and he recalled one such incident where Remi Moses and Jesper Olsen came to blows in 1986 when he was at Manchester United.

"I looked at it myself and I think Glenn was thinking he was going to crash into Joe and he made an involuntary action in my view," Hughes said of events in Dublin.

"I don't think he actually threw an elbow, I think maybe he went to protect himself from the clash and he caught Joe on the chin, so that can happen.

"But you saw almost immediately Glenn saying he didn't do it on purpose and he made that point quite forcefully on the pitch I think! It's something of nothing.

"It happens more often in training games during the week, which people never hear about it, when the cameras aren't on. It is part and parcel of the game. People react to at times being clumped. That's how it is but there is no problem whatsoever.

"Way back I seem to recall Remi Moses whacking Jesper Olsen that got out, which was unheard of in those days. Mind you he did have a good cut, and it was a good punch! It does happen."

Hughes is no stranger to the emotions surrounding a meeting between two home nations having played for and managed Wales, and he joked that in such an environment, not even family ties would prevent him from giving his all for his country.

"Goodness me, when I played I'd kick my granny if she was the opposition; that's how it is," he said.

"They (Allen and Whelan) are team-mates, they enjoy each other's company, they were playing for their countries and wanted to win. They were just displaying national fervour."

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