Roy Hodgson has thrown the full weight of his support behind goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey as the investigation into an alleged “Nazi salute” performed by the Welsh goalkeeper continues.
The controversy arose following a team meal out in which all of the players were pictured at a table together, with Hennessey situated in the back left-hand corner. Given the timing and angle of the photo, it does look as though Wayne is mid-salute but both he and the club have always insisted that the picture is nothing more than a case of awful timing with the stopper actually calling out to the person taking the photo to hurry up.
Clearly, despite the ongoing question marks over further punishment for Hennessey, Hodgson himself has no concerns, throwing the former number one in against Doncaster yesterday afternoon and seeing him come away with a clean sheet to his name.
When pressed for further comment on Wayne’s uniquely tricky situation, the gaffer said:
‘We believe he is totally innocent of any charge being made, although we do understand in this current climate that the FA are duty bound to research anything.
I had no doubts about him playing. He deserves to play and was very good today. He’s played in all the cup matches so far and whatever the draw is I would expect him to play in the next one too.
The charge is what it is. We’ve spoken about that at great length. We are both hoping and confident that charge won’t lead to any particular sanctions.”
Any further punishment taking place would open a gigantic can of worms for the FA, who would be tarnishing a man’s reputation on the flimsy evidence of a potentially awfully timed photograph and nothing more. With Hodgson and all of Hennessey’s teammates no doubt ready to testify to the fact that Wayne is the polar opposite of a racist, the FA would be making a call which sticks with the keeper for life if they were to formally punish him over the incident with next to nothing more to go on.
We shall have to wait and see what they decide but surely common sense will prevail in this instance?