When Manchester City drew League Two side Port Vale in the FA Cup, defender John Stones became an easy target for his teammates.
The reason is Tom Pope. The Port Vale striker had tweeted attacking Stones after England's defeat to Holland in the European Nations League semi-final last summer. A mistake by Stones has led to a Holland goal and Pope said he would score 40 goals a week if he plays the Manchester City defender every week.
Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy said they have been making fun of Jones for weeks over Pope, Manchester Evening News reported.
Pope, 34, withdrew his comment after the FA Cup draw clarifying that he meant Stone was not a physical defender. Pope did manage to score a goal in the FA Cup tie against Stone and his team.
In the aftermath of the game, Pope said City players ignored his request for shirt swap. He finally managed to get Aleks Zinchenko's shirt.
According to Manchester Evening News, City players invited Vale players to their dressing room, but ignored Pope. He said that Manchester City players pulled him in, but Stones did not speak to him.
Taking to Twitter again, Pope wrote, "Sorry I can't reply to everyone it's gone mental! I'd just like to say I was completely wrong and bang out of order to say I'd score 40 a season..... it's more like 50. Enjoy your weekend."
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had taken strong exception to the Port Vale player's tweet, saying Pope's comment was "not nice at all".
Pope, later, clarified that his tweet was just banter and Stone is a world-class centre back.