'I wish we had Gary Neville on Match of the Day', admits Gary Lineker as he defends the BBC's flagship football show

Lineker claims that analysts on the highlight show cannot fit in the same detailed analysis as Sky into their limited coverage

Gary Lineker has admitted that he would like to see former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville working on Match of the Day after impressing in his time with Sky Sports working as a football analyst and co-commentator.

The BBC’s flagship football show has come in for criticism in recent years for not delving into expert analysis as much as its full coverage rivals, as well as pundits such as Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson coming under-fire in the past as well as the shows presenter Lineker.

But the former England striker has defended the show, claiming they do the best job that they can, given the minimal time they are allotted to scrutinise each game, whereas Sky Sports can delve much further into the breakdown of how the game is played.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Lineker said: “You cannot get involved in debate on MOTD. You can do it on Sky because they've got hours and hours.

“We've got a couple of minutes. It's a very disciplined show. Our primary purpose is to show the action and the analysis is very secondary. We have lots of people who would prefer no analysis. We have lots of people who would prefer more analysis. We have to find a balance.

“We simply can't do that (in-depth analysis) when we've just got three minutes 30 seconds to discuss the first match – and we're limited by the contract as to the amount we can show."

He spoke of how Neville’s detailed punditry has revitalised the role and provided a freshness into how plays are broken down. Lineker commented on how Neville spent eight minutes picking apart a single corner.

“He's very good,” praised Lineker. “The only difficult thing for him is that when it comes to analysing England players he's involved with them as [an assistant] coach. There have already been a couple of occasions when he's avoided it. But he's very good – and, well, I wish we'd had him on MOTD."

Lineker also spoke on how the show, which he has presented since 1999 (except a brief three-year hiatus when ITV took over the rights) has developed over the years, and will continue to develop in the future.

"We have meetings all the time where we're looking at ways of finding a different method,” admitted Lineker. “But it's forgotten how we made a fundamental change 10 years ago. Prior to 2003, you'd see two main games and then four minutes of another game and then after that just the other goals on MOTD or ITV's version. When we got the [rights] contract back I went to the powers-that-be and said: 'Is there a way we can show highlights of every game?' They backed it. It was a brave, bold, very expensive decision.

"But we're bucking the trends on highlight shows for sport – audiences are down everywhere and, considering the excessive football on TV, it's remarkable we generally hit between six-to-seven million every weekend."

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice