Townsend took Hodgson joke as a compliment, England winger reveals

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend has revealed that he took England manager Roy Hodgson’s ‘space monkey joke’ as a compliment to how he was playing, BBC Sport has reported.

Hodgson has been the centre of a race row following a joke about a monkey and a astronaut that he made during the half-time team talk of Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Poland. The 66-year-old used the joke as a way of encouraging full-back Chris Smalling to get the ball to the in-form Townsend more, and Townsend took that as a compliment.

The 22-year-old said: “The manager just told the players to give the ball to me so that’s a compliment. Everyone should be focusing on England qualifying for Brazil – not on negative silly news.

The exact wording of the joke is not known, but it’s reported that it involves an astronaut and a monkey on a space mission. The monkey performs all the tasks needed, with the punch line being that all the astronaut has to do is feed the monkey.

The comments came during Townsend’s second cap for the national side, following his debut on Friday when he scored in the 4-1 win over Montenegro

It’s a dream come true to play for your country,” Townsend said. “I had the perfect debut really, scoring a goal and getting man of the match, but I couldn’t let it get to me or get big-headed as we had to concentrate on the next game. It’s only now after the games are done that I’ve realised how big it was for the country.

There have been calls from some quarters for the FA to investigate the comments, but the FA moved quickly to the defence of the manager and have dismissed the matter.

This decision to close the matter has been called ‘unacceptable’ by Race for Sport, a breakaway of the Society for Black Lawyers, and they added he need for ‘cultural intelligence’ training for Hodgson and other managers.

Hodgson and his squad be looking forward to getting back on the field, after the FA announced friendly matches with Chile and arch rivals Germany next month, as they begin to prepare for the World Cup.

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