Roy Hodgson has issued a fierce response to furore surrounding his comments made at half-time during England’s 2-0 victory over Poland on Tuesday, insisting that both he and his squad are “angry” that it has overshadowed their achievement of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup.
A member of the squad is believed to have leaked information from Hodgson’s half-time team talk regarding a joke about a monkey and an astronaut in relation to Andros Townsend, who was quick to admit that the comment carried no insult towards him on was not racially provoked in the slightest.
The Football Association has also acted quickly in backing Hodgson, who has had his say on the matter.
"Joy is short-lived in this job," Hodgson said when speaking to the Daily Mail on Friday.
"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."
Although Hodgson’s exact words are unclear, it is believed to be in reference to a Nasa mission in which a monkey was sent into space alongside an astronaut. Hodgson is said to have likened right-back Chris Smalling to the astronaut, saying that his job in the second-half was to give the ball to Townsend.
The monkey performed all the tasks it was required to do in return of being fed by the astronaut, thus the punchline that his role was to ‘feed the monkey’.
While Hodgson did apologise for his joke, Townsend wrote on his official Twitter account: “I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken!"
The FA chairman Greg Dyke was also in full support of Hodgson and released a statement on Thursday regarding the matter.
"Roy Hodgson is a man of the highest integrity, an honourable man who is doing a great job with the England team," said Dyke.
"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."
Another to back the Three Lions’ boss was striker Wayne Rooney, who opened the scoring at Wembley with a close-ranged finish.
Rooney showed his support for Hodgson on Twitter, and writing on his personal website, he said: "To try and pin some form of label on him is absolutely ridiculous.
"Roy spoke to Andros straight away and he took no offence whatsoever. Hopefully that's now the end of the matter."
However, Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare), said that Hodgson had made an error in his judgement and he had got it wrong.
"This was a silly phrase to use in a diverse workforce," he said when speaking to the BBC.