Thierry Henry and Rio Ferdinand Named Among BBC's World Cup 2014 Pundits

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

Barcelona's Thierry Henry, right, gets the ball past Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand during the UEFA Champions League final soccer match between Manchester United and Barcelona in Rome, Wednesday May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Gary Lineker will head a star-studded cast of pundits for the BBC's coverage of the 2014 World Cup this summer, with ex-Arsenal forward Thierry Henry and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand just some names on the billing.

The broadcaster announced their line-up via the BBC website, with Milan manager Clarence Seedorf, Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis, Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel and Celtic tactician Neil Lennon adding their insight across television and radio formats:

Those names join the extensive list of more regular pundit contributors for the Brazil showpiece, which includes Alan Shearer, Chris Waddle, Martin Keown, Kevin Kilbane, Mark Lawrenson, Danny Mills, Danny Murphy, Phil Neville, Robbie Savage, Pat Nevin, Jason Roberts and John Hartson.

And the tournament will also be a send-off for Alan Hansen, who, after 22 years as a Match Of The Day analyst, will be vacating the role this summer.

Lineker voiced his excitement for the competition to get underway, a competition he has fond memories of after winning the Golden Boot in the 1986 World Cup:

BBC Sport director Barbara Slater is quoted as saying of this latest announcement:

The BBC is the home of big sporting events and it doesn’t get much bigger than the World Cup. Our aim is for this to be the first truly 24/7 World Cup and we will deliver a complete experience for our audience through both traditional and digital platforms.

We’ve put together a great cast of pundits, presenters, commentators and reporters to steer audiences though the tournament and we can’t wait to bring the infectious excitement of this competition to our viewers and listeners wherever and whenever they want it.

The BBC report claims that their service is providing more content than ever across a variety of platforms, giving viewers "over 50 percent more coverage available than in 2010."

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Henry, Ferdinand and Seedorf are some of the particularly alluring names for younger fans, having featured in World Cup tournaments with France, England and Holland, respectively, as recently as South Africa 2010.

Between them, the trio have more than 280 international caps, which would lead one to think they'll be able to shed some wisdom on the players involved, as well as the whole experience and the pressures of playing at a World Cup.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

That's not to mention the wealth of knowledge offered by those other names set to lend their voices to the coverage, with managers Pulis and Lennon offering what could be some intriguing tactical views. 

Little more than a month remains until football's most anticipated event gets back underway after an agonising wait, with some of the biggest names of the sport, both past and current, along for the ride.