Jack Grealish expressed remorse for his disparaging comments about Miguel Almiron, admitting "that was one thing I regret".
The Manchester City winger aimed a harsh jibe at his Newcastle United counterpart in the aftermath of the Citizens' Premier League triumph earlier this year.
In a clip that went viral, Grealish said he had welcomed the substitution of Riyad Mahrez against Aston Villa on the final day as his team-mate "played like Almiron" – in reference to the Paraguay international's ineffective performances for the Magpies.
However, Almiron has enjoyed an upturn in form this season and won the Premier League's Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards for October after scoring six times in six games.
The passionpic.twitter.com/TrLTW8Algr— England (@England) December 1, 2022
As he revisited the infamous incident, Grealish revealed his respect for the former Atlanta United player, who he is thrilled to see thriving in the English top flight.
"I haven't actually been asked about that and let me just address it," the England international told The Independent. "It was the day after the season finished, and obviously I'd had a few drinks.
"Straight after that, because I didn't realise, we were out celebrating, and I wasn't on my phone on social media. I remember I was in Ibiza, and it had obviously come out. That was one thing I regret.
"I'm actually buzzing the way he's reacted. He said something about me in the interview the other day, he wished me the best. I thought 'what a guy'.
"Because if that was me, and somebody had said that about me, I'd have probably been the other way and been like 'f**k it'.
"I messaged [Newcastle defender] Matt Targett because I'm close with him from Villa and I said to him 'can you message him for me and say to him that I apologise? I obviously didn't mean it'.
"When I look back on that, that was just one thing that was stupid of me to say. I shouldn't have said it. I didn't realise it was a video to go out, I thought it was just private. But even in private, I shouldn't have said it because he's a fellow professional.
"I'm actually buzzing for him, I've had a lot of stick off the Newcastle fans and rightly so. At the end of the day, they are backing their player, which I fully understand. He seems like the most harmless, nice guy, so fair play."
Grealish is on duty with the Three Lions at the World Cup in Qatar, appearing as a substitute in all three of their matches so far, while scoring the final goal of the commanding 6-2 win over Iran.
The winger will hope to feature again on Sunday, when Gareth Southgate's side lock horns with Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium for a place in the quarter-finals.