Fergie backs Smith
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Alan Smith after the row that broke out over his non-inclusion in the England squad.
The former Leeds United star preferred to play a full 90 minutes for the reserves against Bolton Wanderers rather than enjoy a brief run-out in Denmark.
A misunderstanding led to FA chief executive Brian Barwick criticising the player and hinting Smith had no future at international level.
However, Sven Goran Eriksson has stated that there are no issues with the forward, who impressed in a deep-lying midfield role in pre-season, because talks had taken place between United's and England's coaching staff.
"There has been a misunderstanding which Sven-Goran Eriksson went a long way to clarifying," Ferguson told Century FM.
"That was good for Alan because he has a reputation which he quite rightly guards jealously.
"Alan is a fantastic character and a wonderful personality.
"As Sven pointed out, he doesn't need that type of criticism."