ROY Hodgson has accused Fabio Capello of making a "cheap" jibe at Wayne Rooney over the striker's lacklustre performances at Euro 2012.
Hodgson stepped in after Capello told an Italian news agency Rooney "only understands Scottish" because he only appears to play well for Alex Ferguson.
That comment has irritated Hodgson, who said: "Capello is entitled to his opinions, I suppose.
"But I think it's a bit cheap to kid on a player who was so anxious to do well.
"Rooney's attitude was magnificent. He was putting in extra work in training because he was concerned he was behind the others, having missed the first two games through suspension.
"His desire to do well was enormous.
"In the final game (against Italy) he, along with one or two other players, didn't play to the level he can, but that's what football is about.
"If every player was a robot then football would be a very simple game and we wouldn't need coaches."
Capello had tried to build the England team around Rooney, and the Italian was clearly offended by the player, who had said it "helps everyone" that Hodgson is English as "there are no words lost in translation".
A riled Capello retaliated, saying: "Look, when I spoke they did understand me.
"But every now and then, when I tried to explain tactics, things didn't work out.
"You know what? Maybe it's because Rooney doesn't speak English. He doesn't understand English."
Questions have also been asked about Rooney's conduct prior to the tournament, focusing on a very public holiday in Las Vegas with former Red Devils team-mate Wes Brown.
But Hodgson dismissed this -- and defended his decision to give Rooney an extra week off in the build-up, which meant he missed the friendly win with Norway.
That move could now be interpreted as a mistake, given the forward looked so short of match fitness when he did eventually enter the fray against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Germany coach Joachim Low has backed Hodgson to turn England around.
For the fourth major tournament running, the Germans have reached the semi-final stage, with Low looking to preside over victory against Italy in a much-anticipated semi-final in Warsaw tonight.
By contrast, England have not reached the last four of any tournament since Euro '96, and are once again licking their wounds after exiting at the quarter-final stage following a series of less than convicing performances which have gained them no fans.
Low does not have a magic wand. However, after being directly responsible for England's elimination from the last World Cup, he has detected a significant improvement under Hodgson and his support staff.
And Low feels such improvement will continue as the Englishman's tenure in charge of the squad goes on.
"The English were much better in this tournament than in 2010," he said. "When they played us then, they were a team who had a lot of problems.
"Roy Hodgson has brought order into the side and has done a great job. (At Euro 2012) they were a very well organised team.
"England will develop under him in the next few years.
"In the next tournament, they'll play a better role than they did here and certainly than they did in 2010."