Football Association chairman David Bernstein has defended England manager Roy Hodgson over his discussion of Rio Ferdinand's international career on a tube train.
The England boss is reported to have told passengers on the London Underground last week that the Manchester United defender's England career was over.
But Bernstein has sprung to Hodgson's defence, insisting he had acted honourably and had paid the price for being prepared to interact with supporters.
"Roy Hodgson is a particularly decent guy, someone I have a huge respect for," Bernstein told Sky Sports.
"He travelled on public transport, unusual in this day and age for a high-profile person, which I think is something to be proud of.
"He spoke to fans and he got caught out with a particular word. I think it's very sad that someone should phone the newspapers and actually in many ways he acted in an exemplary sort of a way.
"I think he should we should be very proud of someone who is prepared to speak to fans like that and I have no problem with him.
"He was sorry that he said that particular thing and he has said so and apologised to Rio. I actually I think he comes out of it extremely well. "
When asked if his public comments were disrespectful to Ferdinand, Bernstein added: "It was a slip of the tongue. I would rather focus on the general point of a high-profile person meeting the public, being out there, behaving in what I thought was a very commendable way."