GARY NEVILLE WAS last year approached and asked to be part of the RTE punditry team, according to Irish soccer analyst Eamon Dunphy.
The former Man United man has been widely praised for his efforts in making the transition to punditry, and Dunphy says RTE were keen to sign him up.
However, Neville’s contractual situation with Sky is understood to have prevented him from making the move.
“They actually approached him last year before the European Championships,” Dunphy told TheScore.ie.
“And he said he’d love to because he’d heard it was good fun and that we did it well. But unfortunately, he wasn’t able to contractually.”
Dunphy, however, believes there is one issue with Neville that sometimes gets overlooked.
“I think he’s excellent but I think he has a problem — he’s coaching the England team and attempting to be a pundit, which I think is a conflict of interest to many.”
Nevertheless, he also went on to suggest that such issues may not necessarily be problematic.
“He’s also heavily associated with Manchester United, but I saw him do analysis of West Brom versus United and I thought he was good and rigorous.
“I think it’s a big upgrade and I think Souness is very good as well on Sky. I think being with RTE for a while helped him. It chilled him out and I think he’s very knowledgeable and speaks well and isn’t afraid to call it as he sees it.
“But I don’t think that of Alan Shearer, for example,” he adds. “He gives bland a bad name.”
And while he is impressed by Neville, there is another analyst who Dunphy would be particularly happy to see eventually take his place once he retires.
“Richie Sadlier’s a good lad. He’s forthright and intelligent. He calls it as he sees it. So I think he’s very good.
“Others will come along. Irish footballers, in particular, are generally articulate, thoughtful guys.
“Bill’s retiring next year so Darragh Maloney will be the anchorman. And Darragh’s excellent –he’s a really good broadcast journalist and he knows his stuff.
“And Liam will be around for a while. He’s a very good analyst and he’s been a great player, so Liam will be around.”
The Rocky Road by Eamon Dunphy is published by Penguin Ireland. More details can be found here.
You can read our full interview with Eamon Dunphy on TheScore.ie this Sunday