Review: There's nothing new at Euro 2020, but please, kick Savage into touch

At the time of writing, England have yet to play Scotland at Euro 2020 (ITV, BBC), but our broadcasters have been gripped by the prospect of the Three Lions clash with the Auld Enemy for what seems like years.

By Phil Cunnington
Friday, 18th June 2021, 5:00 pm

While our two main terrestrial channels have had extra time to prepare for this continent-wide festival of football, the way this is presented doesn’t seem to have changed much.

Despite innovations brought to TV coverage of football by the pay TV channels, particularly in explaining and illustrating tactics, BBC and ITV are still sticking to the tried and tested formula, which means they rely a lot on their teams.

Which is great when you have Alex Scott or Steve Wilson in the line-up, and not so good whenever Robbie Savage trots into view.

From left, Mark Chapman, Eilidh Barbour, Gary Lineker and Gabby Logan are among the BBC team for the channel's coverage of the Euro 2020 tournament

There is a definite split these days between the professional pundit and the TV footie personality. The pundit – your Shearers, Keanes, Nevilles – know their stuff and convey it to the viewers with varying levels of enthusiasm, or in Keane’s case, hostility.

The TV footie personalities – your Savages, Jenases, Charlie Adam – are here more for the banter and a slot on the One Show sofa.

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There are a few who do marry insight with wit, Ally McCoist and Ian Wright proving great value. Women’s Super League winning manager Emma Hayes is an astute co-commentator, while the best combination so far saw Mark Chapman, Alex Scott and Micah Richards thoroughly enjoying themselves while watching the Finland v Russia snooze-fest.

And your TV footie personalities? Not for me, Clive.

Dream team

Here’s a line-up of the best presenters and pundits so far.

Host: Gary Lineker (BBC). Relaxed, chatty, and able to get the best out of the pundits.

Analysis: Ian Wright (ITV), enthusiasm with know-how. Alex Scott (BBC), cool, composed and knows her stuff. Gary Neville (ITV). Good on tactics and always liable to go off on one.

Commentators: Steve Wilson (BBC). Doesn’t over-talk, unlike Sam ‘Chatterface’ Matterface on ITV. Ally McCoist (BBC). You can hear him hugging himself with glee at being there.

Subs: Mark Chapman, Guy Mowbray, Emma Hayes, Roy Keane.

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