Lineker: Why we can’t be as forthright as RTÉ pundits

Gary Lineker says Eamon Dunphy and John Giles couldn’t get away with the type of punditry they do on RTÉ if they were working in England.

The former England international and host of BBC’s Match of the Day says he has seen the RTÉ panel at work “on a couple of occasions” and also knows, by reputation, of how robust their comments can be. But if the BBC or Sky opted for a similar no-holds-barred approach, he believes there would be a backlash from the game in England.

“I think that’s absolutely fine for here,” Lineker said in Dublin yesterday. “But they couldn’t do that if they were on television in England. Because the players would see it. And it’s easy to do these things when none of the people, the managers, are watching. And it’s quite easy when you’re not answerable the next week. If Sky did that or we did that back home constantly and just went over the top with our opinions, the clubs wouldn’t talk to us, the managers wouldn’t talk to us and the players wouldn’t talk to us.

“I mean, our pundits give honest opinions but they have to do it in a responsible manner. I’ve not seen enough of them [the RTÉ panel] to know how over the top or how strong they are but nobody’s going to say they’re not going to talk to them because of that. But if we did something like that on a Manchester United player we know that they’d be banned from talking to us.”

The former England international striker, who ended his own playing career in Japan, also says that, given the overall improvement of the club game in America, he feels Robbie Keane can offer something to the Irish team.

“Robbie’s towards the end of his career and that’s for him to decide and the management to decide,” he said. “And, obviously, Ireland haven’t got that many players to choose from. He’s still got something to offer and he’s a proven international goal-scorer.”

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