Stuart Pearce today admitted racially abusing Paul Ince almost two decades ago but hit out at the matter being resurrected upon his appointment as England caretaker manager.
Pearce's elevation to senior boss two weeks ago for Wednesday's friendly against Holland was immediately followed by reports recalling an altercation he had with Ince while both were players in 1994.
Ex-Nottingham Forest left-back Pearce was alleged at the time to have called former England team-mate Ince something similar to that which John Terry stands accused of branding Anton Ferdinand last October.
Terry, who denies using a racist slur, was stripped of the England captaincy earlier this month after his trial for the offence was delayed until after this summer's European Championship.
Pearce, who could yet end up managing his country in Poland and Ukraine, was not punished for abusing former Manchester United midfielder Ince.
But he did apologise at the time and the pair went on to star for England for several more years.
Pearce said: "In some ways, I found it a little bit sad, to be quite honest with you, to rehash a story from 17 years ago, which was reported at the time and apologised for at the time by myself.
"It's something that, certainly from my point of view, wasn't appropriate at the time.
"To bring that up and the timing of it, I found quite sad, and I felt sorry for Paul because I know him and his family would've been chased for comments as well.
"I do everything I can with regard to anti-racism campaigns when asked."