Belfast Telegraph

Gary Linekar should say what he thinks more often

By Matt Butler

When Gary Lineker tweeted his thoughts that Roy Hodgson's tactics against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday night were "a step back to the dark ages" it prompted near unanimous agreement. But there was another comment buried under the stacks of replies which deserves airing.


Lineker had earlier tweeted that post-season friendlies were "pointless". Among the replies was one comment: "Bet you wouldn't say that if [the match] was on the BBC". Lineker, to his credit, replied by admitting: "That's very true, but I'd have thought it."

His revelation prompted the question: how many times on the Match of the Day sofa has he thought that, say, Arsenal have been flaky or Alan Hansen is talking a load of hot air – yet not aired his views?

As the show's host, it is not his job to be polemical, it is his pundits'. But as Hansen's, Alan Shearer's and, to a lesser extent, Mark Lawrenson's default setting is to state the obvious, wouldn't it be refreshing if Lineker dropped a discussion-sparking grenade every now and then as he did on Wednesday? He got his public talking – it would be good to get them doing so on a weekly basis.

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