Hodgson backs Bertrand after latest England Twitter gaffe

ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has refused to criticise defender Ryan Bertrand for creating football’s latest Twitter controversy but accepts that his decision to swear was ultimately wrong.

The furore surrounding Ashley Cole’s contentious labelling of the Football Association as a “bunch of t***s” had yet to completely clear when Bertrand, the left-back’s understudy at Chelsea, yesterday reacted to criticism of the illness that has made him unavailable for selection at home to San Marino tonight as “f***ing nuts”.

The 23-year-old apologised for what in the current climate was a particularly ill-advised tweet but, given that he was defending his desire to play for the international team, Hodgson felt that his attitude was not one that should be condemned.

“What he was saying is quite laudable,” Hodgson said. “He really wants to play for England and is really angry it has been suggested it is merely a sore throat when he is actually quite ill. But he shouldn’t use a swear word.

“It would be a very nice world if we all walked around and there were no swear words. But you only have to put the TV on to hear as many swear words as you would like.

“You shouldn’t do it but you won’t get me to take it as something criminal. He has already apologised for it but it goes to show what a problem we will all have with Twitter. Football players are going to write on it the way they talk and sometimes they will use wrong words.”

The FA, who are to issue a code of conduct for the players before next month’s friendly with Sweden, had officially described Bertrand’s illness as a sore throat and it was this to which he objected.

“Just to clarify.... Its [sic] not a ‘sore throat’ Im ill. swollen glands in my neck... And constant headache for 3 days now and freezin cold,” he wrote on Twitter. “Do you think a ‘sorethroat’ could stop me being apart of a match for my club or country? #yourf***ingnuts this is what every boy dreams of.”

Unlike Cole’s, which was obviously directed towards the FA, Bertrand’s tweet is considered sufficiently vague to not demand action, unlike his team-mate, who was charged with misconduct, and it was last night that Cole accepted that charge.

Having apologised to FA chairman David Bernstein he will not be given a ban, but there will regardless be a non-personal hearing to decide upon any potential punishment.

“Cole has requested a non-personal hearing, the date of which has yet to be set,” read a statement from the FA.