Swindon Town manager Paulo Di Canio has revealed striker Leon Clarke asked to leave the club two days before Tuesday's touchline bust up which followed the Robins' Carling Cup defeat to Southampton.
Clarke and Di Canio were involved in a post-match scuffle in the tunnel after the game, which saw Saints beat Swindon 3-1 at the County Ground.
The nature of the bust up, which saw the episode played out in public, is expected to signal the end of Clarke's career at Swindon, however his manager says the player asked to leave two days before the tie.
“I thought during the night whether he did what he did because he wanted to make a big show to leave the club," Di Canio said.
“After the game I discovered that two days before he had asked to leave.
“I didn’t know this before the game because I will never allow a player to wear a Swindon shirt who asks to leave."
Di Canio also revealed that during his early days as a Swindon player, Clarke had shone glimpses of his short temper, but the Italian boss had offered the 26-year-old a second chance.
"Since the first day he showed a bad habit and bad behaviour but as a responsible manager I wanted to integrate him because he was the last, important signing for us," he added.
“So I swallowed my bad taste and I decided okay and that I needed to help him, but in a normal situation I would kick his ass straight away, because a player like him does not deserve to wear the Swindon Town shirt.
“If the fans knew the way he behaved in the last seven days they would kill me. But I thought he could change."