Rooney calls situation ‘ridiculous’ after Hodgson is forced to apologise.
Wayne Rooney has leapt to the defence of Roy Hodgson after the England manager was forced to apologise for comparing Andros Townsend with a space monkey at half time of the 2-0 win over Poland on Tuesday.
Hodgson used the joke to persuade right back Chris Smalling to pass more frequently to Townsend and at least one England player was reportedly left shocked, believing the comment to have racist connotations.
“I would like to apologise if any offence has been caused by what I said at half-time,” Hodgson said in a statement.
“There was absolutely no intention on my part to say anything inappropriate. I made this clear straight away to Andros in the dressing room.
“I also spoke to Andros again on Wednesday. He has assured me and The FA he did not take any offence, and understood the point I was making in the manner I intended.”
But Rooney, scorer of England’s first goal on the night, saw nothing wrong with his manager’s remark, tweeting:
Seen the story on roy this morning. He done nothing wrong. This is ridiculous.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 17, 2013
The joke, which Hodgson reportedly told in full, is popular at US space agency NASA.
“NASA decided they’d finally send a man up in a capsule after sending only monkeys in the earlier missions,” the joke goes.
“They fire the man and the monkey into space.
“The intercom crackles, ‘Monkey, fire the retros.’
“A little later, ‘Monkey, check the solid fuel supply.’
“Later still, “Monkey, check the life support systems for the man.’
“The astronaut takes umbrage and radioes NASA, ‘When do I get to do something?’
“NASA replies, ‘In 15 minutes – feed the monkey.'”
It is believed that neither Townsend, nor his father Troy, who works for anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, were offended by the joke.
talkSPORT presenter and former England striker Stan Collymore also defended Hodgson on twitter:
Demeans every anti racism campaigner by having cheap pop at RH who said NOTHING WRONG. Makes campaigners seem over PC & petty. They’re not.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) October 16, 2013
But anti-racism campaigned Piara Power felt Hodgson’s remark was ‘silly’:
Anti-racism campaigner Piara Powar says of Roy Hodgson: “This was a silly phrase to use in a diverse workforce.” I’m pretty much speechless
— Ben Dirs (@bendirs1) October 17, 2013