Emma Hayes has been one of ITV's team of experts during the tournament
Emma Hayes’ punditry during Euro 2020 is set to be rewarded with an on-screen role during ITV’s coverage of England’s historic semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday night, Telegraph Sport has learned.
Public appreciation for Hayes during the tournament has been so positive that ITV bosses have adjusted their plans to include the Chelsea manager in a pitchside role to provide analysis on this most anticipated of matches. Her involvement comes after a flood of positive comments from fans on social media for her tactical analysis and well-researched comments, both as a co-commentator alongside Joe Speight and in the ITV studio.
The public mood was encapsulated well by Hayes’ former Chelsea captain, Karen Carney, who posted on Instagram an image showing a huge spread of the tournament’s breakout star pundit’s annotated notes alongside the caption: “People wonder why she is so good… her prep is a joke.”
Still thinking about this little glimpse into @emmahayes1 prep for co-comms last night..
via Karen Carney’s insta pic.twitter.com/sb0mXZVaPu
— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) June 29, 2021
Yet Hayes’ well-received commentary will have come as no surprise to those who have spent time in her company, nor those who listened to BBC Radio 5 live’s coverage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, when she provided more terrific analysis alongside a team including presenter Caroline Barker.
Those who have worked with Hayes describe an individual who leaves no stone unturned when preparing for a match. Deep into the second half of Spain’s enthralling last-16 tie against Croatia, while praising the Spanish side’s strength in wide areas, Hayes casually dropped in a line that Spain had created the second-highest number of “crosses per 90 minutes” in the tournament.
Notably, it is her ability to explain the tactical details to fans which has shone through brightest. As Spain dominated the opening 15 minutes, Hayes quickly explained: “The difficulty for Croatia at the moment is that Spain’s full-backs pushing high on both sides means they’ve got a problem inside, that’s forcing their midfield lower.” Before adding: “They’re just losing their patience, Croatia, they don’t know how to deal with the inside wide players. Both Torres and Sarabia coming inside is causing a massive problem, but the reason it’s causing such a problem is it’s forcing Modric lower. If you look at Modric’s positioning, he’s always worried about where Pedri is, so he can’t be higher with Petkovic to affect the play.”
It has already been a good summer for Hayes, after she signed a new contract with Chelsea. In Friday’s announcement, Chelsea did not reveal a specific end date for her new deal, but sources have said that is because there isn’t one – it is understood that Hayes is staying on a long-term permanent basis because neither party felt the need to set a length to her contract as their commitment to one another is absolute.