Singapore - Ex-England striker Emile Heskey hit back at Kieron Dyer and Titus Bramble on Thursday after they criticised a proposal to force English clubs to interview managers from ethnic minorities.
Heskey, speaking to AFP in Singapore, was reacting to comments from Bramble calling the suggested "Rooney Rule", an idea borrowed from American football, a "disgrace".
He said Dyer and Bramble, both now pursuing coaching careers at Ipswich Town, had the advantage of enjoying an unusually close relationship with the club where they made their names before being appointed as coaches.
"Kieran Dyer and Titus Bramble were saying we don't need to have it (a Rooney Rule)," Heskey said ahead of the Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters exhibition match on Saturday.
"It's all right for them because they're at Ipswich, they started their careers at Ipswich and they have a rapport with Ipswich. But you've got others who probably don't have the same rapport."
"There's some people who need just to be let in the door to give their views," he added.
The Sports People's Think Tank (SPTT) called for a Rooney Rule after releasing a report which found only 19 of 552 coaches in English clubs were from ethnic minorities.
American football's Rooney Rule requires clubs to interview at least one ethnic minority candidate for each vacancy.
Bramble told the London-based Daily Telegraph this week: "I think it's disgraceful that someone might be shortlisted for the job just because of their skin colour."
And Dyer said: "I don't want to be interviewed because it's filling a quota."
But Heskey said prospective managers should be given at least a chance to break into what is a relatively small, and white-dominated circle.
"We're not saying you have to hire someone, we're just saying you have to allow them to have an interview," he said.
"I know someone who has applied for interviews, between 30 and 50, and had two. And this lad's got every single (coaching) badge you need."
"We're not saying you must hire someone, the hiring is up to you. But allow him to give his point and allow him to put himself forward," he added.
The 36-year-old Heskey, capped 62 times by England but currently without a club, said he had no ambitions of joining the management "rollercoaster".
Just 3.4 percent of coaches in England are from minorities, compared with up to 30 percent of players. SPTT is targeting a rise to 20 percent of coaches coming from minority backgrounds by 2020.