Former Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock has sparked a social media backlash over an interview in which he admitted deliberately breaking Andy Cole’s legs.

In the Talksport interview, Ruddock said he had targeted Cole because of the Manchester United striker’s feud with fellow England star Teddy Sheringham.

Cole was injured when Ruddock tackled him during a reserve game in 1996.

“Basically, I loved kicking Andrew Cole,” Ruddock told Talksport.

“I know this is not big or clever but in one tackle I broke both his legs, because he annoyed me.”

Explaining the reason for the horror tackle, which sidelined Cole for several months, Ruddock said: “I’m great friends with Teddy Sheringham and Teddy Sheringham didn’t like him – and if Teddy Sheringham didn’t like him, I don’t like him.”

Twitter users were unanimous in their disapproval of Ruddock’s admission, with some noting that it was a good thing that the game had changed since the burly defender’s 90s heyday.

Others pointed out the different levels of success enjoyed by Ruddock and Cole.

The interview, which was conducted in 2010, resurfaced on Wednesday as part of a Halloween retrospective by the radio station.

The defender, whose nickname is “Razor”, said he had targeted Cole in a reserve-team game between Liverpool and Manchester United in 1996.

Ruddock, now 50, who also played for clubs including Tottenham, Southampton and West Ham, won one England cap and one domestic trophy during his career – the 1995 League Cup with Liverpool.

Since his retirement he has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Cole, 47, who played 15 times for England, is the Premier League’s third highest goalscorer, behind Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney.

In a career that is best remembered for his time at Newcastle and Manchester United, he won all the major honours in domestic football, as well as a Champions League title.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, he spoke about the kidney transplant that saved his life.

In 2010, Cole revealed that he “would rather sit down and have a cuppa with Neil Ruddock” than with Teddy Sheringham.

Cole said he never forgave Sheringham for snubbing him as he took to the field while making his England debut in 1995.

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