The Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness has received stinging criticism for calling football a “man’s game” following Chelsea’s 2-2 Premier League draw against Tottenham on Sunday.
Having watched a heated and physical derby at Stamford Bridge, in which the opposing managers Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte repeatedly clashed, Souness said: “It’s a man’s game all of a sudden, again.”
After Harry Kane’s stoppage-time header had snatched a point for Spurs, Souness added: “I think we’ve got our football back, as I would enjoy football … men at it, blow-for-blow, and the referee letting them get on with it.”
The former England international Karen Carney, now also a pundit, was sitting alongside Souness in the studio and the presenter Dave Jones responded: “It’s also a woman’s game as well.”
The Chelsea forward Beth England, an England international who won Euro 2022 just a couple of weeks ago, wrote on Twitter: “ … what a disgraceful thing to say after the summer this country has just seen.”
Eni Aluko, the former Chelsea, England and Juventus forward, tweeted: “ … Graeme Souness talking about “it’s a man’s game again” sat next to an England centurion Karen Carney, two weeks after @Lionesses end a 56-year-wait and win European Champi
Addressing the issue on TalkSPORT on Monday morning, Souness said: “My comments yesterday, I said we’ve got our game back … that is the kind of football I remember playing, and we will be better for it … men were playing men, they got about themselves … it was a throwback, and I think our football will be better for it.”
When asked if he regretted his comments Souness replied: “Not a word of it.”
Souness was a famously hard-tackling midfielder for Liverpool, Sampdoria and Rangers before a long managerial career that included spells at Rangers, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
Sky Sports have been contacted for comment.