The BBC punditry team will include Rio Ferdinand and Thierry Henry
Credit: Nick Eagle
/BBC Pictures' Digital Picture
With some of Sky’s big beasts moving on short-term loan deals, both ITV and the BBC have bolstered their options to name strong squads for their coverage of the Euros.
Here, we look at the men and women who will be delivering the punditry and analysis of Euro 2020 through our tellyboxes this month and next.
We rank and rate them, and answer the all-important question: who has got the better team?
Hosts: Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Eilidh Barbour & Mark Chapman
All known knowns, all excellent, impossible to see them doing anything other than a very fine job. 8
Has improved massively over his career, particularly since Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher started getting so many plaudits.
Generally at his best with England games, manages to be partisan without going too overboard. 8
Alan Shearer has been a regular pundit at the BBC for over a decade
Credit: Nick Eagle/BBC Pictures' Digital Picture
Has won the lot at international level, and crucially, has done it recently as well. Brings genuine international football expertise and knowledge along with a shrewd mind and an affable screen presence. 9
A starry import from BT Sport, Ferdinand is still just about young enough to have played the game in the current era. Good on what it feels like to play with and against the likes of Ronaldo, and a voice of gravitas on off-field issues. Big signing. 9
Hard-working pundit who really knows her stuff, clearly being groomed by the BBC as a long-term fixture in multiple parts of its football offering, and who knows, maybe the next Gary Lineker. Some will just have to get used to it. 8
Affable and enthusiastic, he brings the sense of humour and passion that connects the fan to the action. A real find as a pundit and good to see him get a wider audience than Sky can offer. 8
Micah Richards has moved over from Sky to help out the BBC with their coverage this tournament
Credit: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian NMC Pool NMCPool
Lesser-spotted for England viewers but the former Scotland manager is a shrewd and likeable presence on televised football north of the border, and has the opportunity to show that off in all three of Scotland’s tournament games. 7
Usually seen on Sky, who paid a huge amount of money for him that didn’t represent one of their better returns on investment, will bring his smooth, self-regarding studio presence to the BBC. Coasts on his popularity as a player (not in Ireland obviously) without ever really saying much of interest. 5
A return for the man who made the Affable German Guy role his own before Jurgen Klopp took it to another level. Always an enjoyable presence, more for his manner than any particular acuteness. 6
Hosts: Mark Pougatch and Seema Jaswal
Pougers sometimes seems a bit more rugger than footy but always does a solid enough job as the main anchor. Jaswal is excellent but this represents a step up in terms of profile and it is as yet unclear if the rump of the ITV audience will take to her. 6
Legitimate national treasure, seen to his best advantage during England games, where his sheer conviction and enthusiasm can carry the day. Probably better alongside Shearer and Lineker on the BBC all things considered but still a delight and talks a lot of sense about the big societal issues. 9
Ian Wright has moved over from the BBC to ITV for Euro 2021
Credit: Dan Dewsbury/Dan Dewsbury
Eye-catching booking, the man who has become the most significant, and certainly hardest to escape, football pundit in the business. Like any big transfer, the question is how the existing dynamics will be affected. Be interesting to see if he will do any technical analysis or whether ITV will feel that might be too specialist for a tournament audience. 8
Warmed up for the tournament in trademark style with a withering dismissal of the idea that Jordan Henderson could be kept around the squad for his presence/influence: “What, does he do card tricks?”
Professionally angry, doesn’t seem to like international football, doesn’t much like the England team: dark energy. 5
Was glaring people down when Roy was still in short pants, and booking of the Scotland legend allows ITV the option of recreating the Sky Sports Super Sunday trio with Gurreh and Roy. Unlikely he will be used with Keano in a double angry pivot, best paired with a lighter partner. 6
Like Lee. Lee is no trouble. 7
A chance for Andros, who was in the England mix until fairly recently, to get some punditry minutes under his belt. Might well need the money, poor chap. Has had beef with Roy Keane in the past, questioning whether Keane should have called Kyle Walker “an idiot” in an analysis. Andros: “Having played under Roy Keane at Ipswich, he does go very personal very quickly.” Something to chat about in the green room, then. 7
Andros Townsend will begin his punditry career in the ITV studios
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Former Celtic captain will get an early chance to develop a possible post-playing role; something of an unknown quantity. Presumably he will be used only for Scotland games. 6
Tweeted: “Better days are coming and Ian Wright is here to spread the joy! I’m so excited to be part of the ITV Football team for the European championships tournament.” Got to love the enthusiasm, got to give him a 10 for that alone.
Totals: BBC 68 ITV 64
Result: close contest but the BBC edges it thanks to the signings of Cesc Fabregas, Rio Ferdinand and Micah Richards. ITV might have more questions to answer about chemistry if producers don’t just want to recreate the Sky studio…