Bruce plans Butt walk out talks

February 14, 2006

LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Former England midfielder Nicky Butt faces the wrath of Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce after walking out of the squad before Monday's 3-0 defeat at West Ham United.

GettyImages / JamieMcDonaldBruce: Dissent in the ranks.

Butt, on loan from Newcastle United for the season, stormed out of the team's hotel after discovering he had not been picked while the manager's son Alex Bruce, usually a defender, was included in midfield.

'He (Butt) was injured against Reading in midweek and we decided the lads who played, especially one of them, deserved to stay in the team,' manager Bruce told reporters.

'No player is happy about being left out. He didn't ask for permission, he decided on his own bat to leave and go home.

'We will deal with it internally over the next 24 to 48 hours. We will have a conversation I'm sure and I'll deal with it,' added Bruce, a former team mate of Butt at Manchester United.

Birmingham, third from bottom in the Premier League, face fellow strugglers Sunderland, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion in their next three league games after they take on second division Stoke City in the FA Cup fifth round this Sunday.

Bruce's team have had an erratic series of results in recent weeks. A 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic, a 5-0 thrashing of Portsmouth and a 1-1 draw at Liverpool were followed by a 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal and Monday's meek effort at West Ham.

'I want to have a team which is totally committed to the cause,' said Bruce, whose side are six points adrift of the safety zone.

'We are in a relegation fight. We need to roll up our sleeves and be prepared to take on the fight. I did not see enough of that against West Ham and I will do something about it.'