Following Piers Morgan's comments that Tom Ince was "bordering on treason", Steve Bruce has hit back at the high-profile journalist.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce has hit out at Piers Morgan after the former Daily Mirror editor described Tom Ince's England Under-21s snub as "bordering on treason".
Hull winger Ince - currently on loan at promotion-chasing Derby County - made himself unavailable for selection to Gareth Southgate's squad for forthcoming matches against Czech Republic and Germany, choosing instead to focus on his club career.
Morgan - speaking on talkSPORT on Thursday - said Ince, whose father Paul is thought to have played a part in his decision, should never be selected for the England senior team as a result.
Bruce has now stepped out in defence of the player, taking particular issue with Morgan's "treason" comment and making reference to The Mirror's publication of subsequently discredited pictures appearing to show the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by UK troops in 2004.
"I think the decision he [Ince] has made with his father, they must have weighed up the pros and the cons," Bruce said. "He's concentrating on Derby at the minute and they've got big games coming up, but I spoke to his father the other day and he informed me of the situation.
"I can only say I've never had the conversation with Tom himself.
"There must be a reason for it, so I think we have to respect that.
"But as for 'treason' and Piers Morgan, I'll not forget the photograph that he put on the Sunday Mirror or the Daily Mirror - that was more treason.
"How dare he?"
Morgan was sacked by the Mirror following his decision, as editor, to run the images.
The Mirror later admitted it had fallen victim to a hoax, and issued an apology before launching an investigation.
Morgan, though, has since stated his opinion that the pictures were not necessarily fake.