Itandje plays down service behaviour

Charles Itandje has sought to play down the growing furore over his behaviour during Wednesday’s Hillsborough service.

The Liverpool reserve goalkeeper was yesterday suspended for 14 days while the Barclays Premier League club investigate his conduct during the service at Anfield.

Television footage appeared to show the player laughing and nudging team-mate Damian Plessis during the service to remember the 96 people who died at the FA Cup semi-final clash between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989.

Itandje yesterday issued an apology in an interview with the Liverpool Echo newspaper, in which he stated it had not been his intention “to offend or disrespect anyone”.

The 26-year-old Frenchman has since claimed the incident has been blow out of proportion, telling Aujourd’hui Sport newspaper: “It is a 30-second clip about which people are going overboard.

“You need to see an hour of the video if you want to judge my behaviour, but you know the papers over there [in England]. They make a big deal of things.”

When asked if he could describe what he was doing in the footage, which has been circulated on the Internet, Itandje replied: “No idea. I haven’t even seen it. I don’t know at what moment it was being filmed.”

Itandje revealed he has had no contact with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez since his suspension was announced early yesterday morning.

“I have had no explanation,” he continued.

“I have not even had the opportunity to explain myself to the club.

“Sammy Lee, the assistant manager, called me on Friday morning to tell me not to turn up at training.”

The former France Under-21 international revealed his position at the club, for whom he has made just seven first-team appearances since signing from Lens in 2007, will not be greatly affected by the fallout from his actions.

"It does not change a great deal, as I am already on the transfer list,” he said.

“I should be leaving this summer. I am not used in the team.

“I don’t want to seem paranoid, but I hope this is not linked with my situation at the club.”

He added: “It’s not the club I need to explain myself to, it’s the families [of the Hillsborough victims].

“I sympathise with them and I would like to tell them that.”

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