Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon risked infuriating Harry Redknapp by taking himself off during the Barclays Premier League defeat to Stoke after his manager asked him to carry on.
Redknapp had already used three substitutes at White Hart Lane when Lennon picked up the injury 14 minutes from full-time and eventually headed down the tunnel after telling the bench more than once that he could not continue due to an ankle injury.
The England winger left the ground in a protective boot on his left foot, but Redknapp said: "I was hoping he could stay on but he couldn't and suddenly we were down to 10 men. We're not sure what the problem is. He just said he couldn't carry on and that was that."
He added: "I didn't give him a nudge - I just said to him we would only have 10 men and could he play on, but he said his ankle was too sore.
"I don't want to say any more, I don't want to cause an issue. It's not about England - he's got big games coming up for Tottenham."
Lennon's injury was caused by Glenn Whelan, who grabbed the Stoke winner four minutes from the end when he fired into the top corner after Ricardo Fuller had held the ball up and tricked Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
"Ricardo's pulled a genie out of the bag again," said Stoke boss Tony Pulis. "That was terrific and Glenn finished it with aplomb."
Spurs could have gone top, albeit briefly, with victory but Stoke totally ruined Redknapp's first anniversary at White Hart Lane - and they did it with their first-choice goalkeeper pulling out 20 minutes before kick-out.
With Thomas Sorensen ill, Steve Simonsen stepped in and denied Lennon, Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane, while James Beattie cleared off the line twice and Niko Kranjcar struck the post.
"We had so many chances, the keeper's made great saves, they've kicked shots off the line and they've only had one shot worth talking about," Redknapp said.
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