Roy Hodgson today claimed he and his players are “angry” that England’s World Cup qualification has been overshadowed by the furore over his half-time comments to Andros Townsend.
The England head coach claims his team’s “joy” over reaching Brazil has been spoiled by the leaking of details of his half-time team-talk during Tuesday’s 2-0 win against Poland.
Hodgson used part of a joke about a monkey in space, reportedly using the phrase “feed the monkey” to encourage his players to get the ball to Tottenham winger Townsend. But the story was leaked to the media amid claims that another player was offended by what he perceived as a racist comment.
Hodgson has received the full backing of FA chairman Greg Dyke but the former Albion boss said today: “Joy is short-lived in this job. The players are as angry about all this just as I am.
“We have had a successful period and, although I wouldn’t suggest we intend to rest on our laurels, I think we have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of our labours.
“Instead we get this.”
Lord Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, had initially called for the FA to investigate but the anti-racism campaign group has accepted the matter is now concluded following a statement from FA chairman Greg Dyke that confirmed no complaint had been made and none of the players was unhappy with Hodgson’s words.
However, Society of Black Lawyers chairman Peter Herbert said he would be putting in a formal complaint.
Herbert said: “I think you need some outside oversight of what’s happening... Kick it Out are in a delicate position in raising these issues.
“We will be putting in a formal complaint and would like a transcript of what investigation took place.”
Townsend said on Twitter that he had not been offended and striker Wayne Rooney said in a statement on his website: “It’s really annoying that something such as this should see the light of day. All the lads know what type of guy Roy is, and to try and pin some form of label on him is absolutely ridiculous.”
Dyke said: “Roy Hodgson is a man of the highest integrity, an honourable man who is doing a great job with the England team. He has and deserves the full support of The Football Association.
“He has made clear there was no intent to say anything inappropriate, and he was certainly not making any comments with any racist connotation. Importantly, he has apologised for any unintended offence that may have been taken. We will be making no further comment on this story.