ITV apologise to viewers after dreadful England performance against Republic of Ireland

ITV pundit Paul Scholes described game as 'a waste of an afternoon'

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The television network ITV apologised to viewers for broadcasting England’s turgid 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in a series of tweets mocking the low quality of the game in Dublin.

Roy Hodgson was asked for his view on ITV’s withering verdict on the game, which ITV pundit, and Independent columnist, Paul Scholes, described as “a waste of an afternoon”. The England manager, who accepted that his team had been well below par, refused to comment.

ITV has a five-year deal, £100million with the Football Association until 2018 to show all home and away friendlies featuring the national team. The broadcaster also has deals with Uefa to show the team’s World Cup and European championship qualifiers.

During the friendly in Dublin, the official Twitter feed of the broadcaster, @ITVFootball, repeatedly poked fun at the standard of the game.

It listed “five things we learned” from the game, leaving each of the five points blank. The broadcaster greeted the start of the second half with the comment, “sadly the referee hasn’t lost his whistle, so we’re set to go again”. At full-time it simply commented, “We’re sorry”.


Hodgson said afterwards: “I think it was a game both teams needed after the season ending a couple of weeks ago, or three weeks ago for some of them. The positives for me are harder to find than they would have been for Martin. Two obvious positives were the spirit in which the game was played: competitive, both teams trying to win, and the atmosphere in the stadium and the behaviour of the fans was a remarkable positive.

“We set ourselves high standards and got nowhere near them in the first half. Marginally better in the second half, but we were very critical of ourselves. We've had a good run, a year almost unbeaten, but we came here believing if we played our best football we could win the game. But we never got close to that. We didn't lose, but we have to accept – myself and the players – there were a lot of things we could have done better.”

Scholes said on ITV that Phil Jones was “not clever enough” to play at centre-half.

“I just think at centre back, when he is playing against clever forwards, he tends to get dragged out of position quite as easily. At right back you still need to be clever positionally but I think he can use his pace and power and he hasn't got a bad delivery either.

“When he first came to Manchester United he was a right back, he played right-back all the time. He has got strength and power and he can get up and down the pitch.”

Phil Jones was criticised by Paul Scholes

Scholes added that Raheem Sterling had lacked confidence. “You have to feel for Sterling a bit, it looks like his confidence has gone a little bit. This is a lad six months ago, he could beat any defender in the world. He has great skill, great pace and he just looks like his confidence is shot to pieces.” 


Hodgson accepted that his team struggled to generate intensity. “There were some good moments in the first half, and the start of the second when Jack Wilshere got the ball and we started moving it quicker.

“But there were far too many situations where we didn't win the duels we wanted to, and didn't make anywhere near enough use of the moments when we got into the final third. We didn't threaten a goal. Games played at 1pm in the heat, it's not always easy to give a really accurate assessment of the intensity.”