Bertrand to escape ban for tweet
GROUP H: ENGLAND v SAN MARINO:RYAN BERTRAND will not be punished by the English FA for swearing on Twitter after becoming riled by suggestions his withdrawal from the England squad was due to a “sore throat”.
The left-back, who has been suffering all week from a virus which has prevented him training, was released back to Chelsea yesterday to be monitored by the club’s medical staff. The 23-year-old posted a message confirming his illness was more serious than had been suggested, adding: “Do you think a ‘sore throat’ could stop me being a part of a match for my club or country? #yourfuckingnuts this is what every boy dreams of.”
The message was subsequently deleted, an apology issued and his account appears to have been closed. The outburst came three days after the FA spoke with England’s players at St George’s Park about a new code of conduct, which will be in place for next month’s friendly in Sweden, and on the day the governing body’s regulatory department confirmed Ashley Cole has admitted a misconduct charge for calling the FA “a bunch of twats” in a tweet last Friday.
There is sympathy within the England set-up for Bertrand’s frustration and the player will not be punished. “It’s another reminder of how careful players have to be but his sentiments were laudable,” said manager, Roy Hodgson. “They showed how much he wants to play for England and he was a bit irritated that someone suggested he doesn’t play when he gets a sore throat. His choice of words was wrong. But I’m pleased he has apologised for it. It reminds us how unbelievably careful players of his profile have to be.”
The FA had suggested Bertrand had been suffering from a sore throat earlier in the week, with his condition having worsened since. The defender took to Twitter earlier in the day to explain his withdrawal from the squad. “Its not a ‘sore throat’,” he wrote. “Im ill. swollen glands in my neck . . . And constant headache for 3 days now and freezin cold.” He later added: “sorry if i offended anyone by swearing . . . was just disappointed at the thought of people thinking i only have a sore throat . . which is not the case.”
Cole has requested a non-personal hearing for his own charge, the date of which has yet to be set, and is expected to be fined.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney will lead England out as captain for the first time in a competitive match tonight, insisting there will never be a repeat of the “stupid” mistake that saw him sent off for kicking the Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic a year ago, a red card that cost him his place in the first two games at Euro 2012.
The striker will wear the armband in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard and with Frank Lampard, who had complained of tightness behind a knee at the weekend, having returned to Chelsea for treatment on a minor calf complaint.
Rooney did captain the national team in a friendly against Brazil in Qatar in November 2009, a match Fabio Capello’s team lost 1-0.
The striker will gain his 77th cap knowing two more goals would hoist him above Nat Lofthouse’s, Tom Finney’s and Alan Shearer’s tally of 30.
England hope to welcome Lampard and Bertrand back to the squad on Sunday, ahead of Tuesday’s more daunting game against Poland in Warsaw. Gerrard and Glen Johnson will also be available after serving one-match bans.