Ranking football’s best TV pundits based on how hard they are

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Football is enjoying a decent spell of punditry right now.

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher continue to lead the way on Sky Sports but they are supported by an impressive cast that includes Roy Keane, Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness.

Jermaine Jenas has earned rave reviews on BT Sport and the BBC - he’s even been tipped as Gary Lineker’s successor as the host of Match of the Day - while Michael Owen has improved.

But we’re not here to review each of them. No.

Instead, we’re going to rank them all based on how hard they look, giving each a rating out of 10.

This list has been inspired by The Sun’s version.

Roy Keane

Of course.

Keane is just as ruthless on TV as he once was on the pitch, ripping into players with just as much force as he once did Alf Inge Haaland.

“I’d kill him,” Keane said about David de Gea after the Manchester United goalkeeper’s error against Everton at the start of the month.

“I would’ve lynched him at half-time. I’d have no time for that carry on. I know keepers can make mistakes, but there’s no excuse for that.”

The Irishman is nothing short of terrifying. He once told Ian Wright to “watch yourself” after they clashed during ITV’s coverage of the 2018 World Cup.

We feel for anyone who’s ever gotten on the wrong side of him.

Rating: 10/10

Graeme Souness

Another one who says it how he sees it.

Souness can be menacing in front of the camera, just as Sky Sports presenter David Jones found out when he asked the pundit if he thought Liverpool played well in a bore draw against Man United.

Souness said yes but stopped mid-sentence when he spotted Jones’ reaction off camera.

“Why are you looking like that?” he asked Jones, clearly irritated.

He also told Thierry Henry off for interrupting him. Reputations don’t mean a thing as far as Souness is concerned.

Rating: 9/10

Martin Keown

Keown was uncompromising during his days as a rugged centre-back and he’s carried on that approach in the studio.

While his analysis doesn’t always go down well, he’s never afraid to criticise a player or team.

Or threaten to put BT Sport host Jake Humphrey away.

While his remarks don’t often carry the same sting as a Keane or Souness hammer blow, Keown can bring it when he wants to.

Rating: 8/10

Gary Neville

The former Man United right-back is considered by many to be the best pundit in the game.

He mixes an expert analysis with good humour, but he can be serious when he needs to be.

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Neville labelled his former club “rotten to the core” in 2018 after a perceived lack of leadership at the top and support for then-manager Jose Mourinho.

“Get some control back. Get some leadership,” Neville said.

“Undermining Jose on the eve of the season on why he couldn’t sign those centre-backs - who is qualified in that football club to tell Mourinho he cannot get them?

“It’s difficult running a football club, playing in a team but you have to operate in the right manner. But right now it’s rotten to the core and it has to be coming from the top.

“The people in the boardroom at this moment in time are nowhere near good enough.

“They are playing Football Manager with the biggest club in the world.”

Rating: 6/10

Jamie Carragher

Similarly to Neville, Carragher combines detailed analysis with a little bit of mirth.

He got into a heated debate with Keane about Man United in January, calling the Irishman out for insisting Jose Mourinho deserved more time.

Yet Liverpool’s rise under Jurgen Klopp has left us seeing a more happier version of Carragher in recent years.

Rating: 5/10

Rio Ferdinand

One of the better pundits around, Ferdinand can always be relied upon to speak with passion.

He never sits on the fence and speaks articulately and persuasively.

But while strikers would fear coming up against the former Man United centre-back, Ferdinand isn’t really too intimidating in front of the camera.

Rating: 5/10

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Jermaine Jenas

Jenas is well-spoken and rather inoffensive, but he can bring the heat when he wants to.

The 37-year-old ripped into Spurs’ lack of metal resilience after they threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 against Olympiacos in September, saying: “If this is something that is going to be a part of this Tottenham team they won’t win anything.”

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He’s not always the nice guy he probably has a reputation for being.

Rating: 5/10

Michael Owen

"This has got to be the worst Manchester United team for decades, hasn't it? Since before Sir Alex Ferguson took over.”

That was Owen’s assessment in October, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side made their worst ever start to a Premier League season.

It was hardly a hot take but it was a sign that Owen can be brutal when he wants.

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Many consider the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and United striker to be fairly dull but he’s certainly improved as a pundit in recent years.

He also delivered a scathing assault of Atletico Madrid after the Spanish side knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League earlier in March.

“Please spare me all this inevitable Simeone masterclass nonsense. There’s nothing genius about putting 11 top class footballers behind the ball. Liverpool absolutely pumped them throughout,” he wrote.

But based on appearance and the manner of his delivery, we're not putting Owen close to the top.

Rating: 4/10

Jamie Redknapp

Rarely will a brutal piece of Jamie Redknapp analysis go viral on Twitter.

He heavily criticised former United boss Mourinho after the Red Devils were beaten 3-2 by Brighton in 2018, saying: “I have never seen a team lacking so much desire to get back into a game.”

But he’s a big softie compared to messrs Souness and Keane.

Rating: 3/10

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Ian Wright

‘Ian Wright delivers SCATHING analysis’ is probably never a headline you’ve read in your life.

The BBC pundit provides the comic relief on Match of the Day, revelling in winding up his colleagues.

Hard? Not at all.

Rating: 2/10

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