THE BBC has signed up Phil Neville for this season’s Match Of The Day despite his much-criticised performance in the commentary box at the World Cup.
The former Everton and Manchester United star is joining show veterans Alan Shearer, Robbie Savage and Danny Murphy alongside other newcomers Ruud Gullit and Rio Ferdinand.
Neville admitted working as a commentator was “harder” than he thought after hundreds of viewers complained about his on-air performance during the World Cup game between England and Italy.
Viewers criticised his lack of emotion and “monotone” style during the game with several Twitter users joking that England physio Gary Lewin who was stretchered off after injuring his ankle had actually “fallen into a coma” listening to Neville.
BBC football executive Mark Cole said: “After 22 years, Alan Hansen will no longer be with the show, but the World Cup really showcased the strength of the new BBC punditry team. We will continue to evolve the Saturday night panel and feel we have a really good blend of regular studio guests.
“Alan Shearer has established himself as one of the top pundits in the UK, while Danny Murphy and Philip Neville will regularly provide added tactical analysis. There will be strong opinions from Ruud Gullit and Robbie Savage, while Rio Ferdinand will continue to give excellent insight around his playing commitments.
“We will continue to mix our team of regular analysts with current players and managers, which featured Roy Hodgson, Thierry Henry, Vincent Kompany and Roberto Martinez last season. We are confident we have put together a varied team full of insight and opinion, led by Gary Lineker, who has consistently proved to be amongst the best presenters in the UK.”
The show celebrates 50 years since its first broadcast this year with a one-off documentary being shown on Friday August 22.