Aston Villa caretaker boss Eric Black has revealed Jores Okore was removed from first-team plans after he refused to be a substitute against AFC Bournemouth earlier this month.
The 23-year-old defender last played in a 2-0 loss to Tottenham on March 13 and was left out of the matchday squad for the defeat to Manchester United last weekend, which confirmed Villa's relegation from the Premier League.
Black has now confirmed Okore is out of his plans following discussions between the duo.
"Jores trained pretty well ahead of the Bournemouth game [on April 9]. I spoke to him at the start of the week and he responded well," Black said ahead of Villa's game with Southampton on Saturday.
"Then when I announced he wasn't in the starting XI and wanted to work with them on the Friday he came to me afterwards and told me he didn't want to be on the bench.
"He didn't feel right to be on the bench - I found that strange.
"At that point he wasn't involved in the group - I didn't want him in the group if he didn't want to be involved on the bench.
"I then gave him the weekend to think about it and reflect. I spoke to him again on the Monday to see if he had changed his views on that and he just confirmed that he didn't want to play again and didn't want to be involved again, which I must admit I find very surprising.
"At that point I couldn't dream of bringing him into the group because I only want people there who want to play."
Okore spoke to BT earlier this week, claiming that Black had demoted him to Under-21 duty after he asked to be put into the first team.
"I have unfortunately been relegated to the U-21 team," said the Denmark international. "There is currently a situation between me and the manager.
"I've said things straight out to him, and it has resulted that I am not a part of the first-team squad right now.
"I told him that I think I deserve a fair chance to play and perform, and I think I've done well enough in the few matches I have played this season.
"This is the opinion I have given to him, but the manager was not happy with it and therefore he put me down on the U-21 team."