London (AFP) – Port Vale striker Tom Pope claims Manchester City defender John Stones refused to talk to him after their FA Cup clash because of a social media feud.
FA Cup holders City cruised to a 4-1 win over fourth tier Vale in the third round on Saturday.
But Pope’s goal for Vale was the highlight as the 34-year-old backed up his now-famous taunting of Stones.
Unimpressed by one of his performances for England, Pope mocked Stones in a tweet last year, claiming he would score 40 goals a season if he faced the defender every week.
All eyes were on their duel and Pope insisted he proved his point by cancelling out Oleksandr Zinchenko’s opener with a fine header and later intercepting a Stones pass to create another chance.
“It was only banter and people have dug it up because we’ve drawn Man City. He’s a world-class centre-half. I was just saying he wasn’t very physical and that’s it. If people think I’m wrong, well, I don’t care,” Pope said.
“I spoke to (Benjamin) Mendy and he said all their players had battered him for weeks about it and they got him that wound up about it, and then obviously I’ve scored and he’s probably devastated.
“But I was just hoping I got a half chance to try to put one away. The last thing you want to do is get beaten 7-0 after everything that’s gone on Twitter, not score and everyone laugh.
“It was nice to shut a few people up to back up what I said but it’s water off a duck’s back. I wasn’t too bothered about it either way.”
City invited the Vale players into the home dressing room after the game and Pope admits his meeting with Stones did not go well.
“They all dragged me in, the Man City players, but John wouldn’t speak to me. It was a little bit awkward. I shook his hand but he wasn’t too happy,” he added.
Pope insisted he had no reason to apologise to Stones, later tweeting: “I’d just like to say I was completely wrong and bang out of order to say I’d score 40 a season….. it’s more like 50.”
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