Disgraced former Sky Sports pundit Richard Keys has vehemently denied allegations that he is a racist after audio footage from 2000 raised the question of his prejudices on the weekend.

The Sunday Mirror was given the footage. Keys can be heard calling former player David Johnson ‘choco jocko’ when discussing the striker’s hopes of becoming a Scottish international with Ray Wilkins and Graeme Souness.

His comment came as a response to Souness asking: “He looks like a jock doesn’t he?”

At the weekend Keys said: “I absolutely refute any suggestion of any racism.

“This was off-air and 11 years ago and anyone who knows me knows that Ruud Gullit, Dion Dublin and Ian Wright are not only my past associates but some of my best friends.”

Johnson, who is now a football agent, said he was disappointed to hear of the comments.

“If I’d have heard him say that at the time I would have been absolutely furious.”

Meanwhile, Grey and Andy Keys debut on Talksport’s mid-morning show kicked off this morning without a hitch.

The station dispensed with its normal daytime phone-in format, with Keys and Gray instead conducting interviews with a number of footballing personalities, including Jamie Carragher, Paul Ince, Avram Grant, Peter Reid, Ray Wilkins and Neil Warnock.