Roy Hodgson was saddened by the incident that saw Andros Townsend punished by Tottenham, but insists it had nothing to do with his exclusion from the latest England squad.
The 24-year-old has become a regular fixture in the Three Lions set-up since bursting onto the scene during qualification for the 2014 World Cup, scoring three goals in 10 appearances.
Townsend has struggled to make the same impact at club level, though, and that frustration appeared to boil over on Monday when the winger was pictured pushing and arguing with Spurs fitness coach Nathan Gardiner after being an unused substitute against Aston Villa.
Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has subsequently banished the winger from the Tottenham first team but Hodgson insists it was a lack of game time, rather than Monday’s flare-up, that saw him overlooked for England’s friendlies against Spain and France.
“No, I made my selection before the incident, which he has been punished for by Tottenham,” the England boss said.
“I am sad for that, sad for Tottenham, sad for him – these things do happen.
“I am pleased to see he has apologised. I am sure it is something which will be dealt with, has been dealt with and the parties will move on very quickly.
“Andros Townsend will remain for us a player that we keep a close eye on because he has done well for us when he has been with the England squad.
“On this occasion, I can take 23 players. Andros has not been playing for Tottenham, not been getting much football and, to be honest, it would have been hard to look beyond (Eric) Dier and (Dele) Alli on this occasion.”
Versatile Tottenham defensive midfielder Dier was the only newcomer in the England squad announced on Thursday, although Jack Grealish may have been involved had he been granted clearance in time.
The Aston Villa midfielder represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level but decided to switch his allegiance to England five weeks ago.
FIFA has yet to grant Grealish clearance to switch to the country of his birth and Hodgson will not be inviting him to Alicante in order to get some experience of being around the squad.
He had asked the 20-year-old to come to St George’s Park to get to know the England set-up during the last international get-together, but the move was blocked by then-Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood.
“No, that’s not possible,” Hodgson said. “The last time it was mentioned because we were training on the doorstep of Birmingham and he was close by.
“At the time, Tim didn’t want that to happen and we respected that.
“This is a totally different occasion and it now means that the first time Jack Grealish will have a contact with England is when he is available to play and is selected.”
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