Burnley footballer Clarke Carlisle has said there is a "massive media misconception" about footballers' intelligence.
His comments came after his appearance on BBC One's Question Time on Thursday.
The defender, who was the first playing footballer to take part in the programme, is a previous winner of TV quiz Countdown and has ten GCSEs.
He said team-mate Wade Elliot would also have been a suitable panelist on the programme.
Speaking on BBC Radio Lancashire Carlisle said Elliot would have had a "more qualified opinion on last night's topics".
He said: "There are a lot of really clever lads about the game it just seems most of the press focus on what footballers do wrong.
"There is no talk of the social inclusion projects where you have on average one player a day from your local football club working in the local community."
Carlisle stressed how important it is for today's young footballers to have a good education, saying only a handful of them would still be in the game at 21.
During the Question Time debates, Carlisle spoke of his cousin who is currently serving in the British Army in Afghanistan.
Rob Bagchi, of The Guardian Sportsblog, said the man from Turf Moor, had "acquitted himself well" in front of a home crowd.
His response to questions ranging from the NHS to Iraq was described in the blog as "prepared, thoughtful and cautious".