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San Marino MP compares Roy Hodgson to an elephant after cricket joke

The England manager has come under fire for a “joke in bad taste”.

Hodgson makes his way off the pitch after chatting with the cricket team.
Hodgson makes his way off the pitch after chatting with the cricket team.
Image: Andrew Matthews

ENGLAND MANAGER ROY Hodgson has come under fire from San Marino coach Pier Angelo Manzaroli after joking that members of the England cricket team could have made his squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifier.

Hodgson was at the Oval last week where he watch Trevor Bayliss’ team enjoy a friendly kick about ahead of the final Ashes Test with Australia.

He revealed to the media afterwards that he had told the players that he and assistant Ray Lewington were “on the look-out for talent because we’re playing San Marino so there might be a place or two available.”

Cricket - Fifth Investec Ashes Test - England v Australia - England Nets - Day One - The Oval Hodgson gives a team talk to the England cricket team during the nets session at The Oval. Source: Andrew Matthews

But the coach of the country ranked 192nd in Fifa’s latest rankings did not see the funny side, and vowed that his side will do their talking on the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle a week on Saturday.

“It’s a joke in bad taste,” he told San Marino TV, “a lack of respect to a tiny movement, which always behaved with great dignity and represents the purest expression of sport.

“I think the only point we got so far has a much higher value than England’s six victories, if we consider the skills of the two teams. I hope it has been just a clumsy quote, otherwise…we’ll try to answer him on the pitch.”

San Marino MP Marco Podeschi also waded into the row, and hopes Hodgson apologises for the gaffe.

“San Marino can’t compete with the much bigger and prized national teams, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be respected. Hodgson has been as delicate and gentle as an elephant. I hope he will apologise to San Marino before September 5.”

England top Group E with 18 points having won all of their fixtures so far, and meet second placed Switzerland after taking on San Marino.

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