England manager Roy Hodgson has apologised after making a joke about a space monkey and winger Andros Townsend during half time of the 2-0 win over Poland.
Hodgson is believed to have used the joke about a space monkey to encourage right back Chris Smalling to pass the ball to Andros Townsend.
The 66-year-old 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."
While The Sun newspaper accused Hodgson of making a "race gaffe" which "upset" players, Wayne Rooney defended the England manager against the "ridiculous" story.
The striker tweeted: "Seen the story on roy this morning. He done nothing wrong. This is ridiculous."
The row threatens to overshadow England's qualification for the World Cup which was confirmed after Tuesday's 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley.
More top news
After his son took his own life, grieving father Dick Moore began campaigning for mental health awareness. Here, he shares his advice.
The 13-year-old died in hospital after being hit in the back of the head by a bullet when his cousin fell of a hoverboard.
The psychiatrist brother of Chancellor George Osborne faces being struck off after admitting to an affair with a "vulnerable" patient.