Phil Neville and his fellow Match of the Day pundits given warning by the BBC after 'smash them' comment

Former Manchester United and Everton player made a controversial remark about tackling

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The Independent Football

Phil Neville's remarks about "smashing" an opponent has led the BBC to issue him and his fellow Match of the Day pundits a warning.

The former Manchester United and Everton player made the remarks in relation to Tomas Rosicky. The Arsenal player pulled off a 'no-look pass' by passing in the opposite direction to where he was looking during the Gunners' FA Cup win over Brighton.


However, rather than commending Rosicky, Neville instead explained what he would have done to him if he were his team-mate.


"If that was a training session and somebody did that I'd be first over there and I'd probably look to two-foot him or take him out of the game," the former defender said.


"If somebody did that in training to me, winding me up, I would be straight in there. I'd smash them."



His comments on Sunday's Match of the Day 2 programme drew complaints from viewers which has in turn led to the BBC making clear such language is not acceptable.


BBC Sport said: "This comment was not meant to offend in any way, but on reflection, Phil acknowledges that the language he used was unfortunate.


"That said, Mark Chapman did immediately challenge him and the tone of the discussion was light-hearted enough to suggest that the panel were not condoning any kind of violence or setting an example to a younger audience.


"BBC Sport will, however, remind the team to take extra care during discussions during our live programmes."


Neville had already apologised, quickly taking to Twitter after the show to say: "The Rosicky "look one way pass the other" piece was tongue in cheek by someone who wasn't capable of doing such!!!"



It's not the first time Neville has been at the centre of controversy. When he made his co-commentary debut during England's game against Italy at the World Cup viewers complained about his monotone delivery and boring style.


It seems Phil needs to find a style somewhere in the middle if he is to rival his brother Gary in the punditry stakes.