Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

I'll do it, says OTHER Phil Neville

Phil Neville said he welcomed the criticism and would get better

A radiator salesman called Phil Neville has offered to do a job swap with his football commentator namesake - after receiving abuse intended for the former defender on Twitter.

Phil Neville, from Hadleigh, Suffolk, began receiving abuse after the former Manchester United, Everton and England player came under fire for his commentary performance during England's World Cup defeat against Italy.

Mr Neville received thousands of tweets - including death threats - to his online handle @philneville. The ex-footballer is on the social networking site as @fizzer18.

The 60-year-old Arsenal fan said: "I've had comments about my name for years and it's always been a bit of fun.

"But now I have some sympathy for what celebrities go through - some of it wasn't very nice at all.

"I watched the match and didn't realise who it was at first but I thought the commentary was terrible."

Mr Neville, who played football before becoming a referee, has joked that he is available for commentary work.

Since then he has been offered a possible opportunity to commentate of England's game against Uruguary on Thursday.

"I don't know what will come of it but I know a bit about football so who knows, maybe I could do a decent job," he said.

"I think Phil Neville, the footballer, has taken all the stick on the chin.

"I saw him as a pundit last night and he did a good job so hopefully he can continue to improve."

The former player was criticised for his lack of emotion and "monotone" style during the game.

A BBC spokeswoman said there were 445 complaints after Saturday night's game, which pulled in a peak audience of 15.6 million viewers.

But Neville told Radio 5 Live: "I think the biggest thing I learned is that co-commentary is harder than what I thought it was going to be.

"I welcome all the feedback you get and it's a welcome to the social media so you come in after a game, you're hyped up - it's just like playing, doing a co-commentary - you're focused for 90 minutes, you turn your phone on and you're getting some lovely messages.

"But I'm really looking forward to the game on Thursday. I'm back in the co-commentary booth and I will get better. It was my first live gig and I'm just glad I helped everybody sleep back home."

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