Top 10 Premier League TV Pundits Working in England

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalFebruary 10, 2012

Top 10 Premier League TV Pundits Working in England

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    Whether it's working around live Premier League games or highlight packages, those who play pundit can have a big impact on our enjoyment.

    Millions of viewers scrutinise their performance, and we look to these highly-paid oracles for expert perspectives on the action unfolding before us.

    Those who are good at it enrich the viewing experience and we love them for it. Those who aren't are just plain annoying.

    Here are my top 10 Premier League TV pundits, based mostly on my TV experience in the UK.

10. Robbie Savage

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    Pedigree: Former Blackburn, Leicester and Birmingham midfielder who added to his fame with a turn on Strictly Come Dancing.

    Where to find him: Alongside hosting the 606 radio show for the BBC and writing a column for the Mirror, Savage now provides analysis for ESPN's TV coverage.

    Never short of opinions, Savage is to TV punditry what Joey Barton is to Twitter. He's bold as brass, and he relishes every second of it. Here he is asking Roberto Mancini to sign him.

9. Alan Smith

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    Pedigree: Former Arsenal and Leicester striker who won two titles with the Gunners.

    Where to find him: Providing co-commentary for Sky Sports.

    Alan Smith's understated style was something of a departure from what Sky Sports' viewers were used to with Andy Gray. Perhaps that was the intention?

    Smith brings a wealth of experience and calm authority to live games.

8. Paul Merson

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    Pedigree: Former Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth midfielder who fought a successful public battle against alcoholism and gambling addiction.

    Where to find him: Providing analysis on Gillette Soccer Saturday for Sky Sports, carrying out  punditry duties for Star Sports Asia.

    Merson's larger-than-life personality makes him an entertaining presence on Soccer Saturday, where he excitably reacts to key incidents and imparts a liberal dose of enthusiasm.

    A man of the people, Merson appears to be pretty popular with the masses.

7. Mark Lawrenson

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    Pedigree: Liverpool legend who won five league titles on Merseyside.

    Where to find him: Alongside Alan Hansen on the Match of the Day sofa, popping up on Football Focus and also appearing on BBC radio.

    Mark Lawrenson is clearly very well qualified to pass his opinions, and he takes the persona of a friendly, wise-cracking uncle for the BBC.

    His jokes aren't exactly stand-up worthy, but his analysis is often insightful and he's not afraid to say what he thinks.

6. Jamie Redknapp

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    Pedigree: Former Liverpool and England midfielder, husband of Louise, model and soon-to-be son of the England manager.

    Where to find him: Providing punditry for Sky Sports' live Premier League coverage.

    Jamie Redknapp gets a lot of stick for his over-use of the word "literally." If you can see beyond that, he's actually a really good pundit for Sky.

    Redknapp is confident on camera and not afraid to voice his opinions on players and the big issues in the game. He's an easy target, but ultimately, he does a fine job.

5. Glenn Hoddle

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    Pedigree: Former Spurs and England midfielder who went on to manage both teams.

    Where to find him: Occasionally popping up as a pundit for Sky Sports.

    Jack Wilshere's not so keen on Glenn Hoddle the pundit, but there's no denying he brings genuine insight to the role as an experienced player and coach at the highest level.

    Hoddle is still very much in touch with what's going on with the game, and he may yet make a return to coaching duties.

4. Alan Hansen

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    Pedigree: Former Liverpool defender who presided over an Anfield dynasty.

    Where to find him: BBC's Match of the Day highlights show.

    Alan Hansen's most famous contribution to punditry remains his writing off of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in the 1995-96 season. "You'll never win anything with kids," he said. He was proved spectacularly wrong.

    That aside, I maintain Hansen is among the most knowledgeable and forthright of TV pundits. His dour delivery and focus on defensive practises is as much part of the Premier League era as Ferguson himself.

3. Lee Dixon

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    Pedigree: Played his part in a golden era of Arsenal defending, picking up four league titles and three FA Cups wins along the way.

    Where to find him: Providing punditry for the BBC on Match of the Day and Football Focus.

    Lee Dixon's matter-of-fact style has won him many admirers as a pundit. Dixon tells it like he sees it and doesn't get bogged down in cliches. He's also good at tactical analysis.

2. Gary Neville

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    Pedigree: Former Manchester United and England defender who was an ever-present in Sir Alex Ferguson's all-conquering team during an entire playing career spent at Old Trafford.

    Where to find him: Providing match analysis for Sky Sports' live coverage of Premier League games.

    Gary Neville's transition from player to pundit was viewed with a certain amount of scepticism at first. After all, how could such a passionate Red provide a balanced view on a game featuring his beloved Manchester United?

    It turns out Neville is a natural. His punditry is always insightful and he's not afraid to air his opinions, either. Remember when he said David Luiz played like he was being controlled by "a 10-year-old on a PlayStation"?

1. Graeme Souness

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    Pedigree: Ferocious midfielder who terrorized opponents during a Liverpool dynasty, then displayed equal ferocity as a manager with Liverpool, Rangers, Galatasaray, Blackburn and Newcastle, to name but a few.

    Where to find him: As a pundit for Sky Sports.

    Graeme Souness is a studs-up pundit who's not afraid to upset people. He's outspoken in the extreme and you're never quite sure what he'll say next.

    Here he is talking with Gary Neville about a recent incident involving Mario Balotelli.

    And here's his legendary attack on Gennaro Gattuso.

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