Republic of Ireland U21 international Shane Duffy has denied responsibility for a pro-IRA message that appeared on his Twitter account in the early hours of Monday morning.
The Everton centre-back claimed his phone was taken by someone who retweeted the message without his knowledge.
After receiving a barrage of online criticism for the tweet, Duffy took to the social media site to apologise to his 49,000 followers for any offence caused by the “UP THE RA!” comment.
The 21-year-old posted: “Sorry everyone some little paddy had my phone last night tweets wernt me.. sorry if it offended anyone!! cant leave ur phone anywhere now!!”
However, following several responses to that excuse he tweeted: “Wow so much hate on something I didn’t do.. Fair enough gotta take it because its my twitter. And again It was not me who tweeted and retweeted loads last night! Really am sorry for this mess!”
An Everton spokesman backed up Duffy’s version of events, stating: “Shane was on an evening out when his phone was taken by someone, who then retweeted an offensive remark, for which Shane has this morning publicly apologised for.”
It is not the first time a Republic of Ireland international has been involved in controversy on Twitter.
Last month, Duffy’s Irish team-mate and fellow Derry native James McClean closed his Twitter account after a row over a Wolfe Tones song.
The Sunderland winger named The Broad Black Brimmer as his favourite song. The song tells the story of a boy whose father was killed fighting with the IRA.
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