Belfast Telegraph

World Cup TV View: Carlisle has me in a conundrum

By Billy Weir

The countdown to the squeaky bottom section of the World Cup is well and truly upon us, so it was natural then that ITV plumped for Clarke Carlisle as co-commentator for Argentina's clash with Belgium on Saturday evening.

The world's most intelligent footballer, with an IQ of three squillion, loads of books with really big words in them and a Countdown clock, was needed though to strike a balance with Gordon Strachan on the beach with Lee Dixon and Fabio Cannavaro.

Quizzed on the loss of Neymar and Thiago Silva, Strachan struck a blow for Scottish independence by choosing to abandon English.

"If you ask the Brazilian population what two Brazilian players don't you want to lose, it's they two, because the wee fella (Gordon is five foot six) Neymar is no in Messi's class, but he's the guy that can do something different," he explained.

It's just a wonder he didnae say there's nay mare Neymar ...

No such problems with Carlisle, fast becoming the darling of ITV, but I'm still not sure. I think we need a Susie Dent in Punditry Corner to check if he's actually quite good or just really boring.

Pairing him with Sam Matterface and his Mockney accent that has been honed as Talksport's main commentator is genius, turning the whole Henry Higgins-Eliza Doolittle traditional commentary box combination on its head.

Carlisle carried on regardless, referring to an 'exquisite pass' and 'executed shots' when we all know that in the pundit's thesaurus these are known as peaches and pearlers, or if it's well executed snapshot, it's 'he's 'ad a pop there'.

There is a secret brown button option you can press to get what Carlisle is really saying, such as "Belgium haven't had the chance to utilise Origi's strengths" meaning 'at the end of the day, they ain't pumping it up to the big Belgian lad up top.'

However, he may be wordy but he's no Cannavaro, although he was quick to pay homage to him.

"I think Fabio hit the nail on the head – a lot of possession was laboured without any real dynamism to their play," he said. At no time did Fabio say any of that, he was too busy doing his little nervous camp laugh and learning elementary Gallic with Gordon.

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