“My ‘battered the wife’ tweet referred to me battering and cooking her like some delicious fish,” says Phil Neville

Phil Neville today said that he was not making light of domestic violence when he sent his now infamous “battered the wife” tweet, but was instead referring to battering and cooking his wife “like some delicious fish”.

Neville, who was last week appointed manager of the England women’s team by the Football Association, has faced a barrage of criticism for the tweets, which critics say were part of a series of sexist tweets in 2011 and 2012.

Speaking at his unveiling for what is his first managerial position this afternoon, Neville stated that the tweet was neither sexist nor making light of domestic violence, and was merely a light-hearted jape about preparing and cooking his wife in the style made popular by fish and chips shops.

“In the tweet – which I realise could have been misconstrued – I was joking that I had battered and deep fried my wife in the same way one would a piece of cod or whiting. Perhaps with a tempura batter or one made with a nice beer. I would never make light of battering my wife in a violent way. But it was inappropriate then and remains so now,” said Neville to a room of assembled journalists.

“Let me clarify: I love battered fish and I love my wife and this poorly-executed joke was merely an attempt at incorporating those two loves in the form of one single piece of humour. Believe me, I will know better in future.”

At press time, both Neville and the FA’s PR team were attempting to weather a new storm, as the former Manchester United and Everton defender sought to clarify his position that it is never acceptable to kill, cook and eat one’s wife.