Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher’s wonderful TV partnership is something nobody could have imagined 10 years ago.
As two of the most fiercely passionate players at Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively, it’s fair to say the two outspoken defenders disliked each other back in the day.
When Carragher was announced as Neville’s new Monday Night Football (MNF) partner back in 2013, everyone wondered whether it could work. Neville was exceptional on his own - did he really need a partner? And if he did, was it really wise to bring in Carragher?
However, MNF has flourished thanks to the excellent on-screen relationship between Carragher and Neville.
Their analysis is the best in the business but the fact they often come across like an old married couple has helped to increase their popularity.
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The two former Premier League stars were back working together on Monday night and this offered them the opportunity to analyse each other’s poor defending during Vincent Kompany’s testimonial at the Etihad Stadium last week.
And it made for some absolute TV gold.
Neville tore into Carragher for his poor positioning for the opening goal scored by Man City’s Legends’ Martin Petrov.
“That position for a centre-back is horrific,” Neville began. “He’s in front of me and his other centre-halves. He’s stepped into a *terrible* position.
“My marking’s poor. That is the most horrific centre-back position I’ve ever seen from a ball from the left-hand side of the wing - it’s unbelievably bad, that.”
Neville then went on to compare Carragher to Nicolas Otamendi and Ashley Cole, who also could have done better for the opening goal, to Kyle Walker following Man City’s defeat away at Norwich City.
He continued: “Michael Carrick gets caught in the John Stones scenario where he’s thinking what’s Carragher doing - what’s Jamie Otamendi doing there in front of his other centre-back?! - and then you’ve got Ashley Walker on the other side caught playing them all onside!”
Carragher then had his turn to respond.
“Who was the manager? Roberto Martinez,” the Liverpool hero said. “How do top managers want to play? They want the team to be compact. What is Gary Neville asking me to do? Gary Neville’s asking me to do the old fashioned one - let’s get back and protect ourselves - we’re playing in a proper game against Man City, Pep Guardiola’s watching and you never know, he is short of a centre-back at this moment. You want your teams compact.”
Neville tried to interject at this point but Carragher was having none of it.
“No, no. I’ve let you speak - you haven’t shut up all day,” he said.
“Look at these two looking after themselves [highlighting Neville and Cole] ‘oh the winger’s too quick for me’. It wasn’t [Leroy] Sane it was Petrov. I mean, who’s Petrov?! He’s not watching, don’t worry.
“If Gary Neville’s where he should be, block his run if he makes that run. What do we talk about on this show? A compact team. You’ve got full-backs looking after themselves, Ashley Cole and Gary Neville killing the rest of the team.”
Neville still couldn’t get over Carragher’s positioning.
“I’ve never seen worst positions from two centre-backs in my life,” he added. “Oh my god, that’s so bad!”
Carragher snapped back: “Look at Gary Neville now. ‘I don’t want to run!’. He didn’t want to do an interview before the game because he was so concentrated on the game - and then he leaves his man and he doesn’t run back! And then the best thing he does, he says to me 10 minutes in ‘me hamstring’s gone’ - he bottles it away at Man City, the biggest rivals, your hated rivals, he’s getting stick on the side of the pitch.
“Look at him - you rat, you’re not even running back!”
Dave Jones, sat in the middle, couldn’t hold back the laughter.
“Dave… I’ve watched Carragher for 10 years,” Neville said. “Honestly, he was sat in the Kop for 10 years under Rafa Benitez and Gerard Houllier.”
Carragher then replied: “I’d love to get you in the Kop!”
This is why MNF is unmissable TV when these two are on together.News Now - Sport News