Spain Under-21 midfielder Thiago Alcantara has tried to defend himself after he was quoted by the English press as criticising the England team before Sunday’s group-stage encounter in the Uefa Under-21 Championships.
According to a report in The Guardian, Alcantara claimed that he had only heard of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Manchester City defender Micah Richards, who will not take part in the tournament in Denmark.
The Barcelona midfielder has now fought his corner by issuing a statement on his official Twitter page.
"Once again words have been misunderstood,” the statement reads. “At no time did I belittle the English team - I even mentioned that they have a fantastic squad."
Alcantara is set to start in central midfield for the Spanish team, who are favourites to lift the trophy as they also boast stars such as Juan Mata, David de Gea and Bojan. They have been drawn in Group B with England, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.