Warren Feeney: 'It's the way football's gone' - Ards boss criticises Sterling-Gomez row

Warren Feeney
Feeney played for Northern Ireland in wins over Spain and England

Warren Feeney believes the Raheem Sterling-Joe Gomez bust-up is reflective of a shifting attitude amongst current players.

The former Northern Ireland striker has said the England pair should not have allowed club rivalries to spill over into the international camp.

Sterling was dropped by England boss Gareth Southgate for Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

"It's the way football's gone," said current Ards manager Feeney.

The clash at St George's Park on Monday came after the Man City forward and the Liverpool defender had had a confrontation near the end of Liverpool's Premier League win over City at Anfield on Sunday.

"It should never have happened - never in a million years should that have spilled over into an international squad," said Feeney, who was speaking on this week's Irish League Behaviour podcast.

"You can have your disagreements and kick lumps out of each other, but you should shake hands after the game, and go and have a beer.

Warren Feeney
Feeney took over at Ards in March

"It's the way football is now, unfortunately. You just can't say anything to players as it is all taken personally. They can't accept criticism.

"It starts in the academies, where players are spoilt. When I was at Newport I took players on loan from Chelsea on £6,000 a week and everything was done for them.

"There is no cleaning boots or cleaning dressing rooms - it's all about what wash bag they have or what Mercedes they have."

Feeney, 38, finished his playing career in 2015 after spells at a host of clubs, including Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Swansea City and Luton Town.

He scored five goals in 46 international appearances and insisted that any rows in the Northern Ireland camp during his playing days would not have been allowed to escalate to a player getting dropped for a match.

"The players would have got together and gone to sort it out ourselves," said Feeney when asked what the Northern Ireland players would have done if they heard of a club rivalry spilling over.

"We had our fights, though, but that's football and there was always a mutual respect there.

Warren Feeney
Feeney had spells as assistant manager at Newport and Notts County

"My playing style was all 'huff, puff, go' and that was how I trained. If I caught someone then I expect them to come through me next time. That was football."

Returning to the modern-day academies at English and Scottish clubs, Feeney said the differences in methods from when he was an aspiring young player to today is huge.

"I was brought up at Leeds, where our youth coaches were Eddie Gray and Paul Hart. Our room had to be cleaned for a 9am inspection every morning," he explained.

"We had to clean boots and the professionals' kits. If they had have told us to run to Glasgow we would have done it without asking a question.

"I think the academy system in England is gone. It is all too nice for the players now. We were buzzing to get beans and toast after training, but now players just have their shower, get into their £30,000 car and go home."

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