• World Cup qualifier

Hodgson warns players over behaviour

ESPN staff
October 12, 2012
Roy Hodgson to utilise England squad

Roy Hodgson has issued a reminder to his players that they are under increased pressure to behave following the recent misdemeanours that have hampered England's preparations ahead of the San Marino clash.

Following Ashley Cole's punishment for a Twitter rant aimed at the FA last week and Ryan Bertrand's outburst on Thursday, Hodgson admitted that there will be a watchful eye cast over the players' off-field actions.

While Bertrand avoided disciplinary action, the incident reiterates the importance of the FA's incumbent code of conduct, which was announced on Tuesday.

"We are human beings," Hodgson said. "We didn't descend to earth from some heavenly body and mistakes do happen. But we are aware our conduct is under scrutiny.

"When we behave well, we can do a lot of good. When we behave badly... and this week, we have had a couple of big reminders."

Bertrand's comments were a reaction to suggestions that he withdrew from the England squad with a sore throat.

"Just to clarify... It's not a 'sore throat'. I'm ill. Swollen glands in my neck and constant headache for three days now and freezing cold," Bertrand tweeted. "Do you think a 'sore throat' could stop me being a part of a match for my club or country? #yourf***ingnuts this is what every boy dreams of."

The Chelsea defender quickly apologised for his actions, saying: "Sorry if I offended anyone by swearing as I don't encourage that type of language. Was just disappointed at the thought of people thinking I only have a sore throat... which is not the case."

Hodgson was questioned about Bertrand's actions and enforced his belief that the new code will benefit the England squad in the future.

"The FA are very keen to make certain we continue the style we had in the Euros - which was compared favourably to some of the things that happened previously," Hodgson said.

"We have a chairman who is anxious we're talked about in a positive way. I don't want us to think a written code of conduct is so different to some of the things we've always accepted as being part of football at the highest level.

"But it is important that everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet. We all know the words of the hymns. Let's make sure we don't make any mistakes with our singing."

Wayne Rooney, the most followed British sportsperson on Twitter, said that while the breach is an immediate contradiction to the code's objective, players must realise the responsibilities that come with a high profile.

"We have a responsibility to our families, our clubs and our country," he said. "We have to behave in the right manner for the young players who are coming through.

"With social network sites you have to treat it as if you're doing an interview and say what you would say if it was a live interview on TV. There are people out there who are trying to provoke us. We have to be professional and not give them anything."

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