Jacob Butterfield believes the tackle that ended his season and wrecked his chances of a Premier League move was malicious and has revealed that the perpetrator rang him to apologise.
Leeds midfielder Michael Brown phoned the Reds captain after hearing that the tackle in Barnsley's 4-1 win on New Year's Eve has ruled Butterfield out for the rest of the campaign and Olympics.
Butterfield said: “Michael Brown rang me and said he was gutted for me and that he didn’t think it would be that serious. He said the tackle wasn’t done with the intention of hurting me. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?
“When I came back on the pitch after the initial tackle he kneed me in my knee again. I’m glad that he rang me though but it’s only right that he did. I don’t hold grudges and want to put this behind me now. You can’t change what’s happened in the past.”
The 21-year-old is certain Leeds’ tactic in the Oakwell derby was to remove him from the game. He said: “I can’t falsely accuse people, neither can I prove anything, but in my opinion there was intention to get me off the pitch from Leeds.
I am not saying it was Michael personally but I believe they thought that if they could stop me they could stop Barnsley. It doesn’t change what happened but I have to say that I’m devastated and disappointed at their tactics.
“As I limped off, Simon Grayson asked me if I was OK. I told him that I thought he’d done it on purpose and he said something back but I didn’t even listen to what he had to say.”The setback comes as a double blow for Barnsley, who were expecting bids of more than £1million in the transfer window for their star man.
Reds’ boss Keith Hill said yesterday that he had two enquiries from other Championship clubs for Jacob prior to the injury. Butterfield said: “I am devastated. It’s really bad news for me and the club. I’ve been really down the last few days but I’m trying to get my head around what has happened and stay positive.”