Everton manager David Moyes dismissed striker Victor Anichebe from a training session on the eve of Wednesday nights' FA Cup replay against arch-rivals Liverpool after the youngster told him to "f*** off".
The 20-year-old Nigerian was led away from Everton's training complex by two of the club's physios as Moyes was left "seething with rage" at his player's petulance, according to The Sun.
Although the club have intimated that there was no face-to-face swearing match they would not give an official word on the matter. "We have absolutely no comment to make,'' an Everton spokesman said.
Anichebe, currently lagging behind makeshift centre-forward Tim Cahill in the Goodison Park pecking order, was left "very upset" after a loan deal to Hull City fell through and Everton signed Brazilian forward Jo from Manchester City during the transfer window.
The frustrated striker's future at the Everton has obviously been thrown into doubt and any disciplinary action taken by the club might leave them short of attacking options with Louis Saha, James Vaughan and Yakubu all out injured.
Moyes believes the two players will not let the national team down if boss Fabio Capello names them in his squad to face Spain in a friendly next week.
Capello will no doubt be monitoring their progress tonight when Liverpool are the visitors in an FA Cup fourth-round replay.
"I have got two world class centre halves, " said the Everton boss. "They are playing out of their skins.
"I look around the country and Vidic and Ferdinand are the best partnership. But after that, I think our two are the best pairing.
"They have been consistent, reliable and they are growing in confidence as well.
"If they get chosen (for England) they will do everything they can. International football is different but they are doing very well for Everton."
Moyes believes his side can make home advantage pay against their Mersey rivals after the last two meetings in the Cup and league finished all-square.
He said: "We got good draws at Anfield. Liverpool found it hard to break us down.
"Although we are playing well, I feel we can do much better. If we can improve then maybe it will see us into the next round.
"Everyone wants to win the FA Cup but you have to earn the right to do so by overcoming lots of good teams.
"We have not let ourselves down when we have played the top sides this season."
On-loan striker Jo will miss the replay as he is ineligible after playing for Manchester City earlier in the competition. Instead he could be handed his debut on Saturday against Bolton.
Moyes is hoping a change of scenery will result in a change of fortune for his new recruit.
He said: "We will try and help Jo get his confidence back. Then hopefully we will be able to get something out of him.
"He has a lot of good things going for him. He is young and will continue to improve.
"It sometimes takes time for someone from another country to adapt. Is he finding the Premiership too quick and too strong for him? I am not sure yet but hopefully I will find out in the next six months."