Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce Tim Ireland

Aston Villa coach like a bull at a gate after excuse

FOOTBALL: Professional footballers shouldn't be in the habit of missing training, but if you do, make sure you have a legitimate excuse.

Aston Villa's Ross McCormack, who signed from Fulham but has been linked with a loan move back to Craven Cottage this window, found that out the hard way this week, after manager Steve Bruce tore shreds off him at a press conference for one of the worst excuses you'll ever hear.

So bad, in fact, his boss reportedly went to his player's home to assess the legitimacy of the excuse himself. And he wasn't pleased.

When asked why McCormack missed training, and was subsequently dropped, Bruce snapped: "His gates were stuck."

According to The Mirror, Bruce was so angry he even took the drastic steps to drive to McCormack's place, and photographed the fence - just 4ft 6in - to prove he could have actually left the property.

Although Bruce has supported McCormack until now, despite missing training twice for being sick, this excuse infuriated him, sparking this almighty press conference rant.

"In my opinion he is not fit enough to play and he will not play unless his attitude towards training and missing training improves," he said after Aston Villa's 2-2 draw with Preston

"If that improves then I will reconsider him but if he continues to miss training, as he has done, that will be the situation.

"There has been too much indiscipline here at Villa. Not in 20 years in management have I ever gone down this route but I feel I have to make a stance because I will not put up with it on my watch.

"He has decided the team has picked itself. How can I pick him when he doesn't come into training?

"His failure to turn up for training has happened more than once. Everyone can have an excuse but when it is more than once I will not accept it."