Tony Adams in backstage clash with Katya Jones before Strictly show

Strictly: Tony Adams says show has been 'brutal'

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The 56-year-old former football manager has faced harsh criticism from judges on Strictly Come Dancing but seems to be a favourite with fans. On Saturday, he achieved his highest score so far on the popular BBC competition, earning 26 points. However, just hours before he had faced a “telling off” from Katya and admitted he could have “thrown my toys out of the pram and gone home”.

The former sportsman became consumed with fear during rehearsals, which led to Katya telling him some “home truths”.

Recalling the incident on spin-off show, Strictly – It Takes Two on Tuesday, Tony told host Rylan Clark: “I was full of fear beforehand. We had a team talk.

“She [Katya] came into my dressing room after our dress rehearsal and told me a few home truths about me holding back.

“I think she admits it could have gone either way. I could have thrown my toys out of the pram and gone home.

“But I fought back the fear and just kind of went for it.” Thankfully, Katya’s tactic had been the right move.

Agreeing, the professional dancer explained: “What you said is right, I took a risk.

“It could have fallen apart or it could have given him that extra fire in his belly.

“I took a risk because I thought that’s what he needs right now. It definitely did pay off.

“The last time I’ve been told off like that was by George Graham and I left the dressing room,” he added, comparing the clash with one he had had with his old Arsenal boss.

He added: “I said, ‘That’s not for me anymore, I’m going.'” 

Making light of the potentially disastrous situation, he once again compared the two stars.

“Katya’s more attractive than George Graham, maybe that’s why I put up with it,” he stated.

The pair performed an American Smooth last week and received better feedback from the judges than they had seen in previous episodes.

Head judge Shirley Ballas was full of praise for the footballing legend.

She remarked: “I wasn’t expecting that, I mean you totally stepped out of your comfort zone.

“I mean last week it was pure comedy and everyone could enjoy it and this week you put on your serious hat.

“Not all of the footwork was great, but there was a good effort in the footwork.”

She added: “Can we talk about the chances you took on those lifts? Katya, what are you thinking?

“I mean you did amazingly well, I am extremely surprised and very proud. Well done.”

In the excitement of the judges’ positivity and higher scoring, Tony ended up swearing with joy, which he soon apologised for.

Turning to host Claudia Winkleman during the live show, he exclaimed: “I’m sorry, I do apologise, I was so excited, Claudia.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One.

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