England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he is livid about the racism allegations that have come out after his side beat Poland 2-0 on Tuesday night and the former-Fulham boss has admitted that it has left him feeling crushed.
The story broke on Wednesday afternoon that Hodgson had used a phrase he picked up in a previous job, which was ‘feed the monkey’, and the phrase was aimed at midfielder Andros Townsend, which some people portrayed as racism.
Hodgson was telling his right-back to give the ball to Townsend as much as possible and he used the above statement, which was then released to the media, who then accused Hodgson of being a racist.
Here is what the England boss has had to say on the incident.
‘Joy is short-lived in this job. The players are as angry about this as I am.
‘We have just 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.
‘I admit that some of the younger players may not have understood the reference to the monkey in space. They may not have heard the expression before but that’s a generational thing.
‘I meant “give the ball to the player who can make things happen”. There was no other connotation, and no offence was taken by any of the players.
‘You would have to go a long way to find somebody who is less racist than me. I have coached almost everywhere in the last 37 years, worked with all kinds of people, so this intimation of racism – you can hardly call it a story – is so saddening.’
The FA chairman Greg Dyke has also publically supported Hodgson by releasing the following statement.
‘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 fully explained to us what he said and the point he was making to the players in the dressing room at half-time on Tuesday night. He has also explained the context in which he made his remarks.
‘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.’
‘Roy has spoken with Andros Townsend and a number of the players since the game and he has been assured there are no problems within the squad whatsoever.
‘Additionally, the FA has not had a complaint from any squad member or player representative and we have talked extensively to the squad.
‘The FA has been assured by the players that there are no problems and they understand the point Roy was making and the context in which he was speaking.
‘We will be making no further comment on this story and will now be giving Roy and the team our full support as we prepare for the World Cup in Brazil.’
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt