Matt Butler: Carragher's combative edge should sharpen up the studio

View From The Sofa: Liverpool v Everton, Sky Sports 1

Sportspeople are wired differently from us mere mortals. Whether you watched Bradley Wiggins grunting his way round Ischia or Jamie Carragher throwing himself into tackles in his last Merseyside derby yesterday, it was plain to see that just taking part is not an option.

The debate about whether the competitive fires ever die out – and if so, how quickly – has confounded many an expert. Carragher (right), who retires at the end of this season, will soon find out. And, lucky us, we will get to see just how he adjusts every week when he turns out as Sky Sports' latest pundit. His soon-to-be colleague Jamie Redknapp yesterday spelled out how difficult Carragher will find watching from the sidelines when, speaking ahead of the Merseyside derby, he said: "He has an incredible appetite to win; he will miss it badly. It will be an incredible void in his life when [football] is not there. He will drive his wife and family mad."

Looking ahead, Redknapp added: "But it is great for us," meaning Sky Sports. And he was right. Because as astutely as Redknapp summed up his former Liverpool team-mate's contribution to the cause –"his leadership is immense; on the pitch, his is the only voice you can hear; any defender should watch him for a how-to lesson" – he can all too often fall into bloke-in-the-pub mode. And together with Ray Wilkins yesterday, as most weeks, it was difficult to see past the blindingly obvious statements and actually learn something .

Carragher will give the line-up some bite, if previous stints as a pundit are anything to go on.

He was excellent throughout ITV's Euro 2012 coverage. Not as moody as Roy Keane, not as eager to please as Gareth Southgate. And he seems to have a brain in his head. Whether the fading of his competitive mindset will smooth his edge off remains to be seen, but here's hoping he brings a little of what he had on the pitch into the studio.

Someone who has never lost the spikiness he had as a player is Martin Allen, who was part of the team covering the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final between Burton Albion and Bradford City on Thursday. His shouting of thoughts into an enormous microphone with the backdrop of boisterous Bantams supporters made for great, if slightly unhinged, viewing.

Allen clearly knows his stuff. But his delivery, with barked one-word sentences, is unnerving, to say the least. He. Says. Every. Word. As. If. He. Is. A. Strict. PE. Teacher. And he always seems only an ill-judged interruption away from screaming obscenities directly into the camera.

He and the host of Thursday night's action, Simon Thomas, were like oil and water. For all of Thomas's carefully-threaded interjections for reasons of continuity, it looked clear that the wide-eyed Allen needs a clear line for his trains of thought. And what a huffing, puffing, bludgeoning behemoth his thoughts are. On Calvin Zola's second goal in the first leg, he said: "It was more like Gee Ann Frank Oh Zola, rather than Calvin. He was Drogba-like as well. Marvellous. Just. Marvellous."

You'd think that Carragher would tell it differently. But – and it may be wishful thinking – there is no reason to believe it wouldn't be just as colourful, in his own way.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'