Earlier this year, Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo used his autobiography, ‘I Think, Therefore I Play’ to claim England manager Roy Hodgson had intentionally mispronounced his name as “Pirla, which roughly translates into Italian as “dickhead” during the latter’s tenure at Inter.  Hodgson, who’d probably prefer never to see the above highlight ever again, denied doing so Tuesday, with quotes supplied by  The Mirror’s Martin Lipton :

“I think he may have used a bit of poetic licence there. I called him Andrea, for the most part. I never use surnames.

“I don’t ever remember referring to him as Pirla – I’m a Christian-name person. Maybe they sound similar –but certainly he was anything other than a ‘pirla’!”

Hodgson added: “I felt a bit sorry for him. He hadn’t played much when I came because the squad was full of No.10s, Roberto Baggio, Youri Djorkaeff, Roberto Ze Elias and some others, all vying with Paulo Sousa for the same position.

“So he didn’t play that much but I thought he was very good in training, and Carlo Ancelloti showed a stroke of genius with regard to his career when Inter let him go to Milan and transformed him into a deep-lying midfield player.”