Robin Scott-Elliot: This is no witch-hunt, but Robbie Savage needs to study McCarthyism

View From The Sofa: Euro 2012 BBC/ITV

Here's a question – Robbie Savage: why? I cannot come up with a reason for the presence of the Noel Edmonds of football punditry in the BBC's team for Euro 2012.

There is no blame attached to Savage here. He made the absolute best of himself as a player, putting plenty with greater abilities to shame, and if anything he has done even better off the field. He may be just what the BBC want when it comes to light entertainment but as a football pundit his speciality is the blindingly obvious and that's a niche Alan Shearer has long since cornered.

On Saturday Savage was on BBC3 with Manish Bhasin and Lee Dixon for Greece against Russia. Poor Dixon; he remains comfortably the best pundit on the BBC and they keep him in the B team. Savage clearly appreciates Dixon's know-how as he kept handing over his bits of analysis: "That's terrible defending – what do you think, Lee?"

It was as if Dixon was the only well-drilled member of a back three, taking a step forward, raising his arm confidently in the air and glancing at the linesman for confirmation only to see Savage and Bhasin playing an entire strike force onside some distance behind.

The painful studio exchanges were best captured when conversation moved on to England. Bhasin informed Savage that Sir Dave "Splash" Richards, vice-chairman of the Football Association, had suggested Hodgson had "the Midas touch". In reply Savage suggested that was typical of the media to build someone up and then knock them down. "Rubbish," he said, neatly summarising his own contribution.

If Savage wants to see himself as a forthright, no-nonsense pundit he could do worse than spend some time with Mick McCarthy, who has got the whole gruff Yorkshireman act up to Truemanesque heights. That's Fred, not Harry.

There were a couple of cracking McCarthyisms – that's Mick, not Joseph – during Poland's game with the Czechs. "He's uncompromising," he said of a Czech defender after a Pole was axed, then paused and added: "It's another word for dirty." Later, as the Czechs picked off another Polish attack and broke away, McCarthy labelled it "parasite football".

But the broadcast moment of last week belongs to McCarthy's bête noire, Roy Keane, for his dismantling of his own country's efforts and a side-swipe at their supporters for daring to enjoy themselves. Adrian Chiles, too, deserves a best supporting award – and probably some sort of bravery one too – for prodding Keane until he want bang.

ITV are having a good tournament in the studio, so far bettering their opponents. Roberto Martinez and Jamie Carragher are refreshing and interesting, Keane and Gordon Strachan are nicely unpredictable and the setting in Warsaw helps bring the sense of a tournament. The problem is, if England progress, the BBC will have first pick for the knock-out stages and so demand centre stage again.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
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.

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect