Steven Gerrard and Roy Hodgson have reacted furiously to Harry Redknapp’s claims that certain players asked him to get them out of playing for England.
The QPR manager stopped short of naming names, but revealed such incidents often took place during his four year reign at Tottenham Hotspur.
England captain Gerrard – who is set to make a decision on his own international future within the coming weeks – appeared disgusted at the revelations, and urged Redknapp to name and shame the players in question. However, Hodgson believes the comments do not refer to former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, now with Toronto FC.
“I’ve spoken to Jermain and he’s devastated (not to have been selected for England)”, he said.
Besides Defoe, eleven England internationals played under Redknapp during his time at White Hart Lane: Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon, Darren Bent, Scott Parker, David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone, Jonathan Woodgate, Ledley King and Kyle Walker.
No Spurs stars in England squad
There was no such dilemma in north London this time round – as this was the first World Cup since 1958 not to feature a single Spurs player in the England team. Redknapp has said a number of players did not want the “aggro” of playing for England, and that their priorities lay firmly in the Premier League.
“It seems to be everyone has got an excuse”, Redknapp told The Guardian. He added there were “two or three” players who tried to get out of England duty.
After what was a bold claim by the veteran coach, Gerrard used his press conference with Hodgson to hit back, telling the assembled media: “If Harry is making a comment like that, he should name and embarrass them.
“No one has said to me they don’t like playing for England or that they don’t want to be here."
Gerrard’s personal performance has come under fire, particularly after the Uruguay match, but Hodgson has backed him, and wants him to captain the Three Lions again at Euro 2016. As for Hodgson, he will almost certainly be in charge of that tournament after receiving the backing of the FA.
Redknapp’s latest remarks are likely to be dismissed as sour grapes in some headquarters, as he was once the fan favourite to succeed Fabio Capello, before being overlooked as the FA opted for Hodgson instead. England will fly home after their final group match against Costa Rica, who are already guaranteed a place in the last-16, having won their opening two matches against Uruguay and Italy.
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