OBVIOUSLY I’m bitterly disappointed to have been sent off in a World Cup finals match for England.
I remember the incident clearly and have seen it several times since on TV. I am of the same opinion now as I was at the time — that what happened didn’t warrant a red card.
If anything, I feel we should have had a free-kick for the fouls committed on me during the same incident.
I want to say absolutely categorically that I did not intentionally put my foot down on Ricardo Carvalho.
He slid in from behind me and unfortunately ended up in a positioning where my foot was inevitably going to end up as I kept my balance. That’s all there was to it.
If you ask any player — and indeed almost any fan — they will tell you that I am straight and honest in the way I play.
From what I’ve seen in the World Cup, most players would have gone to ground at the slightest contact, but my only thought then was to keep possession for England.
When the referee produced the red card I was amazed — gobsmacked. I bear no ill feeling to Cristiano but am disappointed that he chose to get involved.
I suppose I do, though, have to remember that on that particular occasion we were not team-mates.
I thought the England lads were awesome after I went off and the effort they put in was amazing.
Truly, if there was any justice England would now be preparing for a World Cup semi-final. Sadly, however, that is not to be in 2006.
I want again to thank my team-mates for the unbelievable effort they put into the game and for all the support and encouragement they gave me after it.
I will also always be indebted to everyone who, after my injury, helped make it possible for me to begin to fulfil a boyhood dream by representing my country in the finals of a World Cup.
Finally, I want to say how sorry I am to see Sven go and to see David step down as captain.
I will always be grateful to Sven for his guidance and the faith he showed in me, and to David for being a great captain and great friend.