As avid football followers mourn the loss of the finest pundit on our screens, Gary Neville’s former employers at Sky must decide who gets the new Valencia manager’s gig on their flagship Monday Night Football slot.
A sharp wit, crisp insight on the beautiful game, the brains to work the famous interactive pad and an ability to ‘banter’ with fellow presenter Jamie Carragher, all seem like essential credentials.
Looking at Ladbrokes’ latest market on who Sky will choose to replace their MNF talisman, this probably rules over half of them out.
There are some very obvious replacements towards the top of the betting though.
The leading candidates to replace GNev
Already big players on the Sky punditry roster are current favourite Jamie Redknapp, at 6/4 and Arsenal icon Thierry Henry, the broadcaster’s marquee signing for the season.
Both have flaws however. Redknapp is a polished performer without doubt, but his perceived Liverpool bias will do little to produce the sort of crackling chemistry opposing Old Trafford and Anfield legends have brought to the show.
Henry has largely impressed everyone other than Graeme Souness, but the Frenchman perhaps struggles in the banter department and could be deemed too serious.
Of the two, though, Henry feels the most likely and at least his Arsenal roots would give the programme balance – something Match of the Day used to sorely lack with Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson calling the shots.
Joey Barton (7/1) and Roy Keane at 8s are next in the betting, but their strongest suit being divisiveness doesn’t necessarily fit the Sky ethos of mass appeal.
The case for Lamps
In the unusual position of being outside the top four from his time in the game, is Chelsea’s all-time top scorer Frank Lampard – at 9/1.
Lamps could well be the best option, albeit it may have to be in a caretaker role given the midfielder will probably be jetting off for pre-season with New York City sometime in February to prepare for the new MLS season which begins again in March.
The nephew of regular opinion giver Harry Redknapp has already proved adept at his analysis when making recent cameos for the broadcasting giants, so the ropes have been learnt.
He is clearly an intelligent individual and mirrors Neville for his stature in the game, arguably surpassing the Man United man in his achievements.
Being a contemporary of Carragher’s bodes particularly well, as does his opposing club background, having faced the former Liverpool defender many, many times in battle.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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