'I talk nonsense but wow,' said Robbie Savage on Wednesday afternoon. Savage was speaking about Eamon Dunphy, a character he had happened upon for the first time the previous evening.
Savage was sitting in his Dublin hotel room having just watched Wales beat Moldova 2-0 when he switched to RTÉ 2 for their analysis of Ireland's defeat to Serbia at the Aviva. A Dunphy discourse on where it's gone wrong for Ireland over the last two World Cup qualifiers followed.
— Robbie Savage (@RobbieSavage8) September 5, 2017
Not knowing the identity of the pundit, the former Wales international asked his Twitter followers.
I found out who he was on social media. I'm a bit bemused by all the fuss. It was a genuine question. I was in the hotel. I've never worked in Ireland on TV. I don't get his TV station in my house. I don't think I've ever seen him play football.
I was in the hotel last night, watched the Wales game. As the Wales game finished, they [RTE] were doing their analysis and there was this gentleman - well presented - speaking for three or four minutes but no caption came up. I just put a picture [on Twitter] asking 'who's this guy talking nonsense on the TV?' I didn't know who he was. Obviously then my timeline went... I was trending in Ireland. They were telling me who it was and sending me clips.
No disrespect, I've Googled him since - I had to Google him. He's a man of opinions and obviously he must be doing something right because he's been working in the industry for a long time.
Specifically, Savage - who was speaking at the eir Sport Pack Season Launch - thought Dunphy was talking nonsense about Wes Hoolahan. Dunphy stated that if Hoolahan had played for an hour against Georgia on Saturday, Ireland would have left Tbilisi with three points rather than one. Savage thought Dunphy's assertion was 'bizarre'.
He said that if Wes Hoolahan, started against Georgia, they [Ireland] would have got three points - which I find absolutely bizarre. It's OK saying that but you have to back it up. I look at Wes Hoolahan's career and I feel sorry for Wes Hoolahan. I only played against him on one or two occasions because he played the majority of his time in the Championship and as a fantastic Championship player.
Georgia is a very difficult place to go, [I 've] been there with Wales many times. Georgia were the better side against Wales in Cardiff, should have won the game. Yet, Eamon Dunphy was suggesting that a guy who is 35 and can't get in Norwich's side on a regular basis in the Championship, if he had been in the side, Ireland would have won the game.
Though Hoolahan has made more league appearances off the bench for Norwich this season than starts, it should be noted that he started 30 games in last season's Championship. It was also a season which saw Hoolahan named Norwich's Player of the Season.
Ireland's results have take a notable dip since Seamus Coleman suffered a broken leg against Wales in March. In the games against Georgia and Serbia, Coleman's leadership was noticeably absent. A lack of leaders on the pitch is something which Savage identified during last night's game.
There's no Roy Keane - who's going to grab that game by the scruff of the neck? Listening to Mr. Dunphy: Wes Hoolahan, who can't hold a regular place in the Championship. I feel sorry for Wes Hoolahan and he does play well for Ireland and he can see a pass. It's very difficult for the guy to not play week in, week out and then expect him to go win games on his own for Ireland. That's what I can't get my head around. It's a bizarre statement.
eir Sport today announced an exciting line up of live content for the new season on the eir Sport Pack. The UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, rugby’s European Champions Cup, the AIB Club Championships and the Allianz Leagues will all form part of a bumper season ahead.