(AFP) - Former England forward Robbie Fowler on Friday said he doubted Roy Hodgson would ever find the source of a dressing-room leak which threatened to spark a race row around the manager.
Fowler said it was "disappointing" that a player leaked details of an ill-judged monkey joke which Hodgson told at half-time of England's World Cup qualifier against Poland.
Hodgson apologised for the mistake but he was said to be furious that the controversy overshadowed England's success in clinching a World Cup spot after Tuesday's 2-0 win.
"Obviously someone's said something, we've not got a clue who," Fowler told AFP at the Singapore offices of property firm Castlewood Group, sponsor of the IG Masters Football Sixes tournament.
"It is disappointing - the fact is, he's in a dressing room talking and all of a sudden, it's leaked. I don't think he'll ever get to the bottom of it.
"But it's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last time that things have been said and got misconstrued."
The incident also suggests potentially damaging disloyalty to Hodgson in the England camp as they begin preparations for next year's tournament in Brazil.
England's Football Association has backed the manager over the matter with chairman Greg Dyke saying Hodgson was "a man of the highest integrity" and has the body's "full support".
Hodgson was reportedly using the joke, about a monkey on a space mission, to make his point that his players should pass the ball more to winger Andros Townsend, who is of Cypriot and Jamaican descent.
Hodgson issued a statement apologising for any offence but he later told Britain's Daily Mail that "the players are as angry about this as I am".
Fowler, 38, who earned 26 England caps, will play Sunday's IG Masters tournament in Singapore along with other ex-Liverpool and Manchester United stars such as Louis Saha and Patrik Berger.
He backed Hodgson's version of events, saying the manager "didn't mean anything by it".
But he also said England also needed to accept they were lagging other nations and improve if they want to make an impression at the World Cup.
"They get to a lot of tournaments and flatter sometimes," Fowler said.
"I think the manager (is) and there's some players who are very, very good, but I think there's other nations out there who are better than us at the minute.
"We've got to accept that and try and push on a little bit more."