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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Guardian hits back in Vaughan row
Michael Vaughan
Vaughan is hoping to lead England to a series win over West Indies
The Guardian has hit back in the row over what England captain Michael Vaughan said about Andrew Flintoff's off-field behaviour at the World Cup.

Vaughan says his comments in an interview with the newspaper have been "blown out of all proportion".

He denied using the word "Fredalo" when discussing off-field incidents. "One word changed the context of the whole article, a word I didn't say," he said.

The paper stands by its story and has audio of the interview on its website.

"The Guardian categorically denies Michael Vaughan's suggestion that he was misquoted in his interview with Donald McRae, published on Tuesday morning," said a statement.

"Having examined transcripts it is clear his contention that he did not use the word 'Fredalo' is incorrect."

McRae himself told BBC Radio Five Live: "I'm a bit bemused by it all and I find it a little odd.

I'm sure (Flintoff) was not best pleased when he read the stories. But we are good mates

Michael Vaughan

"The Guardian has gone back to the tape, we've listened to it closely and I never use the word 'Fredalo' myself and he [Vaughan] uses it on a number of occasions.

"It's a shame, because sportsmen get castigated for being bland and anodyne.

"When a sportsman like Michael Vaughan gives an honest opinion, pinpointing that night as the night England's World Cup fell apart, it gets blown up totally."

The publication of Vaughan's remarks led to Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes describing the comments as "despicable".

And he raised the possibility of Vaughan being given a rough ride by the crowd at Old Trafford, Flintoff's home ground, when he leads the team out for the third Test against West Indies.

"I've got to learn from what happened. I will continue to be honest, but I've got to be a little bit aware that now and again you might get misquoted and stories like this might lead to a little bit of trouble. I'll learn from that," said Vaughan.

Flintoff was stripped of the England vice-captaincy amid reports that he fell off a pedalo and got into difficulties in the water in St Lucia.

But five other players were fined after being spotted out late at a nightclub following the frst round group match defeat by New Zealand.

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In the Guardian interview, Vaughan said those events "changed the whole atmosphere" in the England camp, with players reluctant to be seen out after matches.

"Suddenly you've got players who have no freedom left. I like to see players enjoy themselves but no-one would dare go out after that incident - and you can't create any spirit then," he added.

The row arising from his comments has overshadowed the build-up to match against West Indies at Old Trafford, which starts on Thursday.

But, despite Cumbes's claim that "rule one of any sport is that you don't slag your team-mates in public", Vaughan insisted he had no problem with Flintoff.

"I have a huge amount of respect for Andrew Flintoff. The piece didn't mention all the positive things I said about him - it was just a great story and it has kept everyone very busy over the last 24 hours.

"I'll be speaking with Freddie over dinner and I'm sure he was not best pleased when he read the stories. But we are good mates.

"We move on, He's looking forward to playing cricket and getting back in the England team. We need him in the England cricket team."

Flintoff is currently out of action after undergoing an operation on his troublesome left ankle and has yet to make any public comment on the matter.

Vaughan, meanwhile, has accepted personal reponsibility for England's performance at the World Cup, where they only beat two Test-playing sides, Bangladesh and West Indies.

"Incredibly in the piece, it didn't get mentioned that I openly admitted that I didn't captain as well as I can, I didn't manage the situation as well as I could and I didn't play as well as I could," he said.

"If we're blaming anyone for our World Cup fiasco, it would be Michael Vaughan. "

However, Vaughan was quoted as saying in the Guardian's original story: "I was more tense than I've ever been as a captain. Duncan Fletcher was more tense than he'd ever been as a coach.

"And sometimes the captain and coach have to look at the way they're acting because the team follows.

"I didn't captain as well as I should've done because of the pressure I put myself under.

"I'd admit that. But I couldn't switch off because away from the field there was so much going on - with Bob Woolmer and 'Fredalo'."

SEE ALSO
Flintoff antics 'dented Cup bid'
05 Jun 07 |  England
West Indies in England 2007
08 Jan 07 |  Cricket


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