World Cup: Forget the Football, Focus on the Pundits – ITV part 2

12 Jul

Having circumnavigated the, ahem, aesthetically pleasing features of Adrian Chiles and the undoubted talents of Matt Smith here, this article will focus on the pundits, commentators and analysts on duty for ITV at the World Cup. From the astute observations of Gareth Southgate, to the obvious observations of Clive Tyldesley, via the silent observations of Chris Coleman, ITV have provided us with plenty to talk about.

Firstly, the pundits and where better to start than our very own Patrick Vieira. A dominating force on the pitch, his physical presence has intimidated many an opponent over the years. However, this is in direct contrast with his quiet nature in the studio. He is very softly spoken, but his views are often right on the mark. His views on England’s first two performances were spot-on, and his fluency in English, his third choice language, is to be admired, as is his very stylish dress sense!


Fellow former international midfielder, Edgar Davids, is so laid-back, he’s almost horizontal! Whenever asked a question, Davids, arms crossed, seems non-committal and uninterested. To the viewer, he comes across as arrogant, almost suggesting that someone of his quality shouldn’t be wasting his time in a studio, discussing the football. ‘Host pundit’ Lucas Radebe has only been used sporadically, but professes sense and articulates himself well.

Ghanaian-born Marcel Desailly, who  incidentally was born with the name Odenke ‘Westminster’ Abbey, has also impressed me, not only with his prowess in English, but with his acute tactical observations and common sense opinions. He was a top player for the likes of Chelsea and AC Milan, and is proving to be a top pundit as well. His reaction to Ghana’s missed penalty against Uruguay provided one of the unforgettable moments of the World Cup for me, and highlighted (Edgar Davids, please take note) how much more exciting it is when the pundits are emotionally attached.

Former England manager and World Player of the Year Kevin Keegan certainly has the credentials to be a pundit, and despite being a stalwart on ESPN, his loan transfer to ITV has failed to produce the goods. Only appearing for the England games (so, that was a very short loan deal!) Keegan came across as knowledgeable but not quite able to empathise with the situation and therefore, articulate his views clearly. Enthusiastic but not able to properly convey that enthusiasm was the feeling I received.


Gareth Southgate has been the most used ITV pundit, and, in my humble opinion, with good reason. His astute observations are insightful and helpful, whilst it is clear that he has played at the highest level. He is able to convey his emotions and thoughts very well, and his managerial capabilities are there to see.

Moving onto the commentators and their analysts, the double team of Peter Drury and Jim Beglin has impressed me. The former Liverpool defender is arguably the best co-commentator at the World Cup, providing spot-on views, whilst Drury, master of the spoken word, has the quality needed to be a commentator.

Andy Townsend and Clive Tyldesley have been ITV’s favoured duo, and whilst the former, both in this role and also in the studio has been top-quality, Tyldesley is certainly from the school of ‘say what you see’. He needs to understand that the viewer sees the same images as he does, so he doesn’t need to relate absolutely everything. Silence is often the key for a commentator and knowing when to be silent is not one of Tyldesley’s strengths. Ex-Coventry manager Chris Coleman belatedly joined the team, but lacks the punch to be effective.


Finally, there is the ESPN team of Jon Champion and Craig Burley, recruited for this tournament by ITV to boost numbers. Champion is a respected commentator and is very knowledgeable, but Burley is highly negative, seizing on any opportunity to criticise. Grating on the ears, fortunately ESPN have two better analysts, namely Chris Waddle and Joe Royle.

So, that concludes the in-depth review of the commentators, presenters, pundits and analysts at the World Cup. I hope you enjoyed my coverage, and feel free to comment below. Thanks.



5 Responses to “World Cup: Forget the Football, Focus on the Pundits – ITV part 2”

  1. HeavyRiffs 12/07/2010 at 5:01 pm #

    I loved Desailly’s passion, wore his colours on his sleeve and remained true to his roots, but spoke eloquently on all matters put before him. Chiles hurt my eyes and my ears in equal measure, he reminds me of a half cut bloke in your local, opinionated but ultimately lacking in knowledge to back it up.
    Liked Radebe and Southgate in equal measure, but these days for my money, Jonathan Pearce is hands down the best commentator around, arise Sir John!

  2. HeavyRiffs 12/07/2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Overuse of the term “equal measure” in my last post, I’m not a pundit… 😉

  3. Blue Mooning 12/07/2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Heavy Riffs

    Equal measure is the kind of phrase I would expect Chiles to come up with. No disrespect to you whatsoever but I cannot stand Adrian smarmy slimey Chiles.

    Talk about being promoted to the level of ones incompetence.

    I recall seeing him rip into someone for holding left wing views.

    Not even moderately competent.

  4. HeavyRiffs 12/07/2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Are you comparing me to Mr Chiles Sir? I noticed you said no disrespect meant, but that’s like punching someone and they saying “I hope that didn’t hurt!”
    I’m offended and deeply wounded, I’ll see you on the hastings at dawn…

  5. zaman 19/07/2010 at 3:19 am #

    Nice post friends!
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