Mark Lawrenson to have 'reduced role' on Match of the Day

Long standing pundit squeezed out to make room for new additions

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The Independent Football

The BBC have announced that Match of the Day pundit Mark Lawrenson will have a “reduced role” next season.

The long standing partner of Alan Hansen, who himself is expected to step down after next year's World Cup, has come in for increasing criticism for his analysis. That ire has not been held back for Hansen or the other regular pundit on the BBC's Premier League highlights programme, Alan Shearer.

It now seems the BBC are acting to galvanise their football coverage at a time when Sky Sports and now BT Sports have been investing in star names to work on their programmes.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed of Lawrenson: "He will still be part of the Match of the Day team but he will have a reduced role."

As part of the shake-up, the BBC announced Gus Poyet, Robbie Fowler, Les Ferdinand, Michael Owen, Robbie Savage and Gianluca Vialli would be among their ex-player experts.

Mark Chapman will take over as presenter of MOTD2 and Jason Mohammad will present a new look Final Score, Saturdays on BBC One.

On radio, former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright is to present its 606 radio phone-in football show on Radio Five along with Kelly Cates, daughter of Kenny Dalglish.