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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Grimsby's Whittle won't apologise to Shearer

Grimsby defender Justin Whittle has hit back at Alan Shearer over their bad-tempered tussle during Wednesday night's Carling Cup clash at Blundell Park.

Shearer required three stitches in a lip wound following a first-half challenge from Whittle which left the Newcastle striker furious.

He admitted he had to restrain himself from retaliating to Whittle's blow, which saw the Mariners defender catch Shearer in the face with his arm.

However, Whittle insists he did not set out to intentionally hurt the former England skipper and accused Shearer of not being able to take what he himself dishes out.

Whittle told The Sun: 'There was nothing deliberate in what I did. I have nothing to apologise for and my track record backs me up.

'We both jumped for the ball. I went with my arms up and caught him in the face and he's moaned his head off at the referee - he wasn't happy about it.

'Shearer spent the whole of the game trying to wind me up. As you can see from TV Shearer got me early in the match. I just turned around and got on with it.

'Tough battles are part of the game. It's my job to defend and I thought I did well against him.'

Grimsby have also defended Whittle, with a statement from the League Two side reading: 'We feel that there was no deliberate intent on behalf of Justin to catch Alan with his arm.

'The referee on the evening was very close to the incident and no action was taken. We hope that this does not overshadow what was a pulsating cup-tie between Grimsby Town and Newcastle United.'

For his part, Shearer has attempted to heal the rift with Whittle by declaring he does not want the defender to face any belated disciplinary action.

He said: 'I'm still angry about the incident but I'm not really bothered if anyone wants to have a look at it again.

'What good would that be to me or Newcastle United? To be honest, I hope nothing happens because I'm not like that. I don't like to see that going on.'