Middlesbrough defender Andrew Taylor today issued a public apology after becoming embroiled in a row with a fan.
The 22-year-old full-back reacted angrily after finding himself the target of abuse from the stands at the Riverside Stadium as he was substituted with 14 minutes of Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Bolton to go.
Taylor told the club's website, mfc.co.uk: "I want to apologise to anyone who was offended by my reaction.
"It was said in the heat of the moment, as I was feeling angry and frustrated that we were losing and I had been substituted.
"One of the fans shouted abuse at me and I reacted in a way I shouldn't have.
"I basically told them to get behind the team, but it's fair to say that I didn't choose my words very carefully.
"I have always had a very good relationship with the Boro fans, and I want to keep it that way."
Hartlepool-born Taylor has 14 senior appearances to his name for Gareth Southgate's side this season, 12 of them starts, after initially breaking into the first-team as a teenager under predecessor Steve McClaren.
He has made the left-back spot his own in recent weeks and is desperate to retain his place for Saturday's derby clash with Newcastle at the Riverside.
He said: "I am passionate about football and I hate losing as much as any fan.
"I hope the supporters appreciate that. If I didn't care about the result or about being substituted, then they would have every reason to worry.
"But I do care. I am proud to play for Middlesbrough and I want to win. Hopefully we can do that on Saturday against Newcastle United.
"I'm sure the fans will be right behind us because I know how much it means to them.
"I can assure them that playing Newcastle means a hell of a lot to the local lads in the squad and we have made sure the other players know exactly how important it is."