Craig Bellamy replaces Gary Neville on Sky Sports Monday Night Football
Craig Bellamy made his Monday Night Football punditry debut in Everton's clash with Crystal Palace as Sky Sports attempt to fill the void left by Gary Neville.
We assess the former Liverpool striker's performance in front of the cameras and his chances of permanently replacing the new Valencia boss alongside Jamie Carragher.
Much like when Neville started out, Bellamy may take some getting used to as a pundit. Carragher, with his tongue very much in his cheek, opened the show with: "He's the only man we could find who is more unpopular than Gary Neville."
The 36-year-old polarised opinions during his playing days but, unlike Neville or Carragher, he is hardly a one-club man.
Bellamy can boast an impressive CV of clubs including Norwich, Coventry, Newcastle, Celtic, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester City and Cardiff and that, along with his no-nonsense attitude, may count in his favour.
Bellamy has made no secret of the fact he wants to become a manager and recently took his Pro Licence alongside Patrick Vieira, Tim Sherwood and Garry Monk.
His eye for detail is currently being honed while working, unpaid, at Cardiff's academy and he admitted at the start of the show he had taken in a trip to Ajax's training ground - much like Neville he clearly enjoys his European football!
Carragher offers plenty of insight all over the pitch but with defence very much his domain, Bellamy gave some fascinating thoughts on his own experience as a forward and the development of the position over the years.
Neville had Sir Alex Ferguson at United while Carragher was fond of Rafael Benitez at Liverpool, but who made Bellamy tick?
The Welshman had a mixed relationship with some of his former bosses - most notably Roberto Mancini at Manchester City - yet the former Newcastle forward idolised the late Sir Bobby Robson.
Mark Hughes, who received high praise from Bellamy on the show, Martin O'Neill and Gordon Strachan also shaped Bellamy's playing career but some of Robson's old charm was evident on Monday night.
Bellamy is not afraid to speak his mind and his claim that Leicester's Riyad Mahrez has been the best player in the Premier League this season certainly raised some eyebrows.
The argument to back up his case, though, was eloquent and he almost managed to convince a sceptical Carragher. Almost.
RELATIONSHIP WITH CARRAGHER
Bellamy has had a few spats in his career, most notably with Alan Shearer and John Arne Riise, but former Liverpool team-mate Carragher seems to have escaped his wrath - especially considering their warm embrace at the start.
At times Carragher and Bellamy seemed like old mates down the pub, with a couple of light-hearted digs thrown in for good measure, but he did not let him get off lightly with some probing questions.
Bellamy's performance received mixed views on Twitter but the majority of viewers seemed to back the 36-year-old for a regular slot.
Former Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris (@morriskid) said: "Craig Bellamy is decent on #MNF" while ex-QPR winger Hogam Ephraim (@HoganEphraim) backed his view on Mahrez. He said: "Bellamy spot on. Mahrez has been the best player in the league bar none this season."
Boreham Wood midfielder Billy Clifford (@Bclifford47) even enjoyed Bellamy's suit and shirt combination: "Bellamy definitely looks the part," he said.
Independent News Service