Rooney defends Hodgson over 'space monkey' controversy

The England striker has labelled the controversy surrounding his manager's comments 'ridiculous' and insists the Three Lions can make an impact at next summer's World Cup
Wayne Rooney has come out in support for Roy Hodgson over the ‘space monkey’ controversy currently surrounding the England boss.

The FA were forced to issue a statement after anti-discrimination group Kick It Out demanded an investigation into the half-time team talk that was said to have caused offence among the squad, but the Manchester United striker insists the incident is a fuss over nothing.

Speaking to his own personel website, Rooney said: “To be honest, 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.

“Roy spoke straight away to Andros, who took no offence whatsoever. Hopefully that’s now the end of the matter.”

The controversy has rather overshadowed the 2-0 win over Poland that sealed the Three Lions’ place in next summer’s World Cup, when Rooney opened the scoring with a header while not wearing his protective headband.

“To be honest I was glad it wasn’t on [the headband] when the opportunity came, as it was the sort of header that needed directing,” Rooney admitted. “I was that delighted when it nestled in the bottom corner that I forgot all about it.

“The headband had come off a few minutes earlier when I tangled with one of their defenders - it was when we were putting a lot of pressure on Poland and I didn’t have time to go looking for it.

"It’s not something I’ve enjoyed wearing but until the doctors say otherwise I will keep it on.”

The 27-year-old’s seven goals in qualifying were enough to make him England’s all-time top scorer in competitive matches, with his total of 28 strikes overhauling Michael Owen’s previous record of 26.

“Personally I’ve had a good qualifying campaign and managed to score a few goals which is always good, but the main thing is that the team have qualified,” he continued.

“It’s a proud feeling knowing that I’ve scored the most goals for my country in competitive games but it will mean a lot more if I can add to that total in Brazil for the World Cup.”

Rooney is now looking forward to travelling to Brazil next summer and insists England will not just be there to make up the numbers.

“Brazil is a great football nation and to play a World Cup there is a dream for a lot of players,” he explained.

“However we are not going their as tourists, we are going there to compete.

“We have a good squad with a good mix of senior and youth players and hopefully we will continue to improve and play the best tournament we possibly can.”