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The defender's response to a tweet from team-mate Massadio Haidara mocking his linguistic skills has caused controversy, forcing the 27-year-old to apologise and delete the message

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has apologised for a remark made on Twitter which contained potentially racist connotations aimed at his team-mates.

The 27-year-old had earlier been the subject of a mocking tweet from Massadio Haidara lambasting his inability to speak French, and responded by posting a controversial image.

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Sent on Friday, the tweet – which was also sent to the accounts of team-mates Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse and Vurnon Anita – pictured three black stereotypes, as well as Anita in a Netherlands shirt, and included the message: “It's always good to see you guys smiling.”

The tweet has caused controversy for its racial overtones, though Haidara later dismissed it as “banter” and a joke between team-mates, though Taylor was nevertheless forced to issue an apology.

"Apologies if my tweet offended anybody," he said in reply to messages from users of the social networking site, after also deleting the original tweet which caused offence.

Taylor may face punishment from the Football Association who have taken action against misuse of the site by professionals in the past, fining Rio Ferdinand for using the term "choc ice" last year.

However, Haidara has been quick to defend his team-mate by insisting the tweet was merely banter between the four Newcastle players.

"Is just bander [sic] with Papiss, Moussa, Vurn' and me. He joke with me 2 min before," he wrote on twitter.

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