Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon has rejected suggestions that he made up an illness to pull out of Tuesday night's Champions League game at Real Madrid.
Lennon was withdrawn from the line-up just before the teams were about to emerge from the changing rooms, complaining of feeling drained and unwell. The timing of the switch led some to question whether Lennon had refused to play, but now the player has made it clear he had been ill for days.
Speaking on his Twitter account, Lennon said: "Saying I fell ill before the game is bull****. I fell ill on Sunday morning when the medical team put me on antibiotics, but (it) only got worse before Tuesday.
"Believe me this is one game I did not want to miss and (I am) still devastated now. But (I) will not be made a scapegoat, saying they only knew just before kick-off."
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp had already defended his player after having to bring in Jermaine Jenas at the last minute: "We lost Aaron Lennon a minute before kick-off, he didn't feel well, just said he had no energy, no strength. We had to change the team just as we were leaving the dressing room.''