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Is It Time To Rethink Ex-Players Doing Commentary On Their Former Team?

By Jonathan Byrne
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Jamie Carragher has been a staple on Sky Sports commentary for a while now, but he received plenty of backlash while he was on duty over the weekend.

The former Liverpool man co-commentated the Merseyside Derby alongside Martin Tyler and joined Kevin Campbell and Graeme Souness for analysis after the game.

Carragher and Gary Neville are very much Sky Sports' two main men. When it comes to creating content for their website, YouTube and social media channels, they're right in the thick of it.

Ever since their partnership on Monday Night Football, the two Premier League stalwarts are the go-to when it comes to commentary for big games on Sky.

However, fans were quick to point out on Twitter that they were less than pleased to have Jamie Carragher on co-commentary for a game so close to his heart.

The ex-Liverpool defender played in many a Merseyside Derby and hasn't hidden his allegiance to the Reds since his venture into journalism.

It's not out of left-field to see Sky Sports appoint a former player to commentate on a derby. We've seen Gary Neville do the same for the Manchester equivalent.


Manchester City's 4-1 win over Manchester United had both Carragher and Neville on commentary, likely to provide some neutral ground.

Three things in particular stood out for football fans online. Carragher's exasperation at Richarlison, his over-excitement at Liverpool's play and calling Liverpool players by their first name.

In particular, Carragher honed in on Richarlison for a period of the game when he went down injured in the first-half. It appeared he may have been fouled by Thiago.


A replay of the incident showed no malice from Thiago, but Richarlison rolling his ankle. Carragher still went in on him and told him to 'get up'.

"Honestly, get up. Get up, carry on," he said. "Stupid from Doucoure trying to stop the game but Richarlison... there's nothing wrong with him."

Richarlison isn't an innocent figure when it comes to all this. If you've watched Everton games this season, you'll know he spends his fair share of time in a heap on the pitch.

However his deployment as a lone striker often leaves him in battles with centre-backs and midfielders with no one ahead of him, so drawing fouls is part of his game.

One of Carragher's strengths is when he's doing analysis and he has provided some interesting talking points about Everton and the poor season they're having.

It just begs the question if having him, on his his own, on co-commentary duties might have been a step too far from Sky. The addition of another voice may have dampened the critics.

[Watch Video]

Speaking on Carragher's commentary, talkSPORT's Jamie O'Hara thought Carragher might have been a bit too harsh on Richarlison at that moment in time.

The second one was an innocuous challenge that hurt him and he's gone down and was actually hurt. It was just because they were getting frustrated, Liverpool, that the fans started getting him on his back.

I think it was a little bit harsh for Carragher to come out and say, 'Get up, get up'. You shouldn't say that. No, you don't know how he's feeling. He might have done his ACL or MCL. Them challenges you don't know. There was contact. He was in pain.

Carragher spoke about Richarlison again after the game on BBC Radio 5 Live. "I've never seen gamesmanship like it from Richarlison," he said.

"He rolls round, and does it game after game. He's so frustrating to watch because he's a gifted footballer and I wonder why he wastes his time."

We've seen this issue arise before with former Liverpool players. Ronnie Whelan called Liverpool 'we' this month on RTÉ.

Fans love impassioned commentary, but there is a degree of neutrality that is required as well.

See Also: Souness & Carragher Feel Anthony Gordon's Diving Cost Everton A Clear Penalty At Anfield

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