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Sky veteran Tyler happy to view future in 3D

The reason why Martin Tyler bought his first colour television in the 70s was to watch the old Home Nations championship.

Now around 40 years on, the hugely respected commentator is working on Sky's coverage of a new competition, which revives memories of an era when Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales did battle every season.

The Republic of Ireland replacing England is the not the only difference to the Carling Nations Cup, which kicked off last night in Dublin with Giovanni Trapattoni's team taking on Wales and continues tonight when Northern Ireland meet Scotland.

Viewers don't just watch the games in colour — they can see them in 3D, a development that excites Tyler.

In last night's Republic game he got to grips with the technology as a commentator for the first time.

Ahead of the match the 60 year-old was like a kid with a new toy.

His renowned enthusiasm will still be in evidence for those tuning in to Sky for the Northern Ireland fixture tonight.

“In this tournament it'll be the first time I have commentated on a match in 3D. Maybe I was the only one available or this is part of my continuing education late in my career,” he says.

It's been quite a career covering the biggest matches on the planet over 36 years, the last 20 of which have been spent as Sky's main man behind the microphone.

Of the Carling Nations Cup, he says: “It's nostaglic and innovative at the same time.

“I bought my first colour TV to watch the Home Nations games in the early 70s. My ex-colleague at Sky Andy Gray played in the games back then and he always spoke about how exciting they were.

“Now they are back in the form of the Carling Nations Cup, which I hope proves to be a success. As an Englishman I'm actually a bit disappointed that England aren't taking part.”

Speaking to Tyler it's clear he has a fondness for Northern Ireland. He talks in reverential tones about Billy Bingham, George Best, Pat Jennings and Sky's Spanish football expert Gerry Armstrong.

“I have huge respect for the viewers and am lucky to be in the position I am in. I know I have a great responsibility and work hard to be ready for each game. I never take what I do lightly,” he said.

“I've been commentating for 36 years and you build up a reputation in that time, though you can lose it in 36 seconds.”

Though not meant about them, Martin's old colleagues Andy Gray and Richard Keys could relate to that. Tyler won't speak about the controversy that saw Gray and Keys lose their jobs at the satellite station and join talksport. He's more forthcoming on something that hasn't changed — the art of commentary.

He says: “In my first game there were four cameras.

Now there is 24 but I don't think the basics of commentary have changed. You identify players, give information when it is needed and try to interpret the contest.” Tyler still does that better than most.

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Tonight's Northern Ireland v Scotland Carling Nations Cup game is the first Northern Ireland international to be broadcast in 3D.

Visit www.sky.com/pubfinder to find a local screening the game in 3D.

Belfast Telegraph