• World Cup

Neville faces uncertain future

ESPN staff
June 16, 2014
Phil Neville laughed off the criticism of his performance after England's defeat to Italy © Getty Images

Phil Neville could be dropped by the BBC for the knockout stages of the World Cup after his performance as co-commentator during England's defeat to Italy on Saturday drew stinging criticism.

His commentary style during the 2-1 loss in Manaus was pilloried and Twitter was flooded with complaints about what some fans saw as his "boring" contributions and "monotone" delivery.

The BBC has defended Neville and intends to use him as co-commentator on the highlights packages of England's final two Group D games against Uruguay and Costa Rica. He will also feature as a studio pundit for Monday's match between Iran and Nigeria, Russia's clash with South Korea on Tuesday and Nigeria against Bosnia on Saturday.

However, where he fits in beyond that is unclear. A BBC spokesman said: "Everything for the final 16 will be decided much closer to the time."

The BBC on Monday revealed it had received 445 complaints about Neville's commentary, but said he had been given necessary training before he was allowed on air.

In response to the negative reaction to his punditry, a statement from the corporation said: "Phil is an important, well respected member of our team and will continue to play a key role throughout the tournament, both as a studio guest and match commentator."

England's remaining group games, against Uruguay on Thursday and Costa Rica on June 24, will be screened live by ITV, with the BBC not due to cover Roy Hodgson's side live again until the knockout stages.

Neville, however, appears unconcerned. He took to Twitter after the Italy game to laugh off the criticism over his performance, insisting it will only make him better in the long run.

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