Peter Crouch has revealed he once witnessed two of his team-mates having a fight during half-time, with a manager knocked to the floor in the scrap.
The towering former England striker was drawing on his experiences in football following the row between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez at St George’s Park.
After the pair were involved in a confrontation during Liverpool‘s win over Manchester City earlier this month, they continued their bad blood on England duty as Sterling reportedly grabbed Gomez round the neck, which led to the Liverpool player appearing with scratch marks on his face.
Peter Crouch, right, drew on his playing days at Sportsmail’s A Pint with Piers’ event in London
England boss Gareth Southgate decided to deal with the disagreement by dropping the Man City forward from the qualifier against Montenegro, with England making a public statement about the scrap.
But Crouch said he had seen much worse incidents during his playing career, including a fist fight on the training ground, and said Southgate would have been better off handling the problem internally.
Speaking at Sportsmail’s ‘A Pint with Piers’ event in London, he said: ‘I felt he (Southgate) should have kept it in house. I’ve been at training grounds where there have been fist fights, at half-time there was a fist fight where a manager actually got knocked to the floor believe it or not, it goes on.
‘We went out in the second half and we got a draw. The England thing, when I was playing, I think the intensity was a lot more than it is now. When I look at England now, it’s almost like a club atmosphere, they all seem to get on.’
Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez’s row in the Premier League spilled into the England camp
Crouch said the England teams he was a part of were more cliquey and separated by teams
Crouch admitted the England camps he was a part of were much less harmonious – with players separated by their clubs.
He added: ‘Back when I was playing, I know David Beckham and Gary Neville would sit together, we would have a Liverpool table, I would sit with Steven Gerrard, United would be at the back, genuinely there was little pockets of players. It was a bit cliquey, I don’t see that now.’
The 38-year-old divulged further about the half-time clash from his playing days, revealing that one of his team-mates kicked another player, drawing blood, but insisted that the two stars eventually made up after the final whistle.
He said feuds between players aren’t as bad as they used to be, but that even when he was playing fights were often sorted out and forgotten about quickly.
Southgate should have kept the feud between Sterling and Gomez internally, says Crouch
‘It’s definitely got a lot better,’ Crouch said. ‘But these things go on, it’s been going on in football for years. In my opinion, [Southgate] shouldn’t have gone public. I’ve literally seen someone come in at half-time, punch someone in the face, the other player was literally kicking this player in his chest.
‘He had stud marks and blood all down his chest. The manager got involved, he got pushed to the ground. It was all going on and that was at half-time. We were 2-0 down and went out for the second half and ended up drawing 2-2. At the end of the game, everyone was hugging, it was all smiles, and it was forgotten about.
The former Tottenham and Liverpool striker scored 22 times for his country as he featured for England at two World Cups.
Peter Crouch and Martin Keown are columnists for Sportsmail. Piers Morgan is a MailOnline Columnist. All three can be read online at www.mailonline.co.uk. Head to www.mailonline.co.uk/sport for all the latest news from ‘A Pint With Piers’, or follow the hashtag ‘A Pint With Piers’ on Sportsmail’s social channels.