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Townsend: No offence caused by Hodgson monkey joke

England manager under fire for telling old NASA joke during half-time team-talk against Poland.

ENGLAND INTERNATIONAL ANDROS Townsend says he took no offence at Roy Hodgson’s “space monkey” gaffe.

Hodgson’s dressing room joke made front page headlines in the UK this morning, overshadowing England’s win against Poland and World Cup qualification.

The Sun and the Mirror report that at least one player was offended by the half-time team talk in which Hodgson told an old NASA joke, intended to illustrate Townsend’s importance to their game-plan.

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The joke finishes with the punchline “feed the monkey,” which could be interpreted as having racist connotations, but Spurs midfielder Townsend says there is no issue.

“I don’t know what all this fuss is about,” he tweeted.

No offence was meant and none was taken!

It’s not even news worthy!

Wayne Rooney, who scored the opening goal in England’s 2-0 win, also defended Hodgson.

“Seen the story on roy this morning. He done nothing wrong. This is ridiculous.”

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Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

In a statement, Hodgson said: “I would like to apologise if any offence has been caused by what I said at half-time.

“There was absolutely no intention on my part to say anything inappropriate. I made this clear straight away to Andros in the dressing room.

I also spoke to Andros again on Wednesday. He has assured me and the FA he did not take any offence, and understood the point I was making in the manner I intended.

The joke, which reportedly emerged at NASA in the 1960s and 1970s, is about a man being sent into space for the first time alongside a monkey.

The astronaut becomes frustrated that the monkey is being asked to do all the work and radios mission control to ask what he should do.

NASA replies: “Don’t touch anything — just feed the monkey.”

– Additional reporting by AFP

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Niall Kelly

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