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Neville vows to pep up commentary

Phil Neville has admitted working as a commentator is "harder" than he thought after hundreds of viewers complained about his on-air performance during the World Cup game between England and Italy.

Neville, a former player whose career included stints at Manchester United and Everton, was criticised for his lack of emotion and "monotone" style during the game.

Many viewers took to Twitter to criticise him, with several joking that England physio Gary Lewin who was stretchered off after injuring his ankle had actually "fallen into a coma" listening to Neville.

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

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, its 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.

"B ut 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."

Neville, who said he "really loved" working as a commentator, said: "The feedback is the content I put out was quite good, obviously the feedback is I need to show a little more excitement so I think you'll see that on Thursday night."

Fellow broadcaster Danny Baker was among his critics, but said the BBC should share the blame.

He said: "Phil Neville has acknowledged he wasn't great during England commentary. But what were the BBC doing giving him that game to 'learn his craft'?"

The BBC said Neville, who has received broadcasting training, was " an important, well-respected member of our team" and would " continue to play a key role throughout the tournament".

His next appearance is expected to be as a studio guest for tonight's game between Iran and Nigeria.

Neville is not the only broadcaster to be on the receiving end of criticism.

His BBC colleague Jonathan Pearce was mocked on Twitter after he appeared to be confused by the use of goal-line technology during France's game with Honduras and then mistakenly said France had scored during another attack.

But a BBC spokeswoman said no complaints had been received about Pearce.


From Belfast Telegraph