Neville and Carra – the perfect TV double act make their Monday Night Football debut

There was a lovely cameo of Sky Sports’ new dynamic duo, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, caught on camera during play at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Off duty, and there simply to take in the Chelsea v Hull City match, Neville was doing all the talking and Carragher all the listening.

Indeed, during the short sequence I think the former Liverpool man just about got a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the conversation.

On Monday Night Football they were together again, this time working as a new combination that Sky Sports bosses have very high hopes for.

It is interesting that, despite all the flair and fancy footwork which lay further up the field in their playing days, a former right back and centre back, known for their no-nonsense approach to the game — and each other in the past — are expected to hit the sports TV jackpot.

Things got underway on Monday night via the understated promptings of Ed Chamberlin, the perfect host to tease out the duo’s views. He knows his role and plays it to perfection. A few first-night nerves quickly behind him, Carragher was soon into his stride and then out of his seat, giving us an impromptu lesson in defending.

His confidence in driving his own video analysis was matched by its content, which included an example of Robin van Persie taking him to the cleaners a couple of seasons back. ‘Too good for me,’ Carragher’s honest observation.

There followed a withering attack on Arsenal’s performance against Aston Villa and their faltering transfer policy.

‘There is no single player to answer Arsenal’s problems. They need a big shop,’ was Neville’s view.

‘There’s only one section of people overspending at Arsenal — the supporters,’ added Carragher.

Back from the commercial break and attention turned to Manchester City’s opener against Newcastle United.

Neville took the lead with analysis of the home side and Carragher concentrated on the visitors. Once again, it was modern analysis with electronic aids but, importantly, backed up with strong, informed opinions.

These early exchanges indicated that their views match the integrity they showed as players. They are not worried about ruffling a few feathers.

Of course, they had plenty of views in common during the opening hour but undoubtedly there will be many opportunities ahead where they won’t share an opinion.

I’m sure the audience will look forward to those lively exchanges when they come along; there is no need to contrive that type of situation.

I think those moments are absolutely guaranteed — and on the basis of the first show it won’t just be Carragher doing the listening.

Manchester City’s demolition of their visitors gave the pair an opportunity to praise Pellegrini’s side inspired performance, aided and abetted by Newcastle’s self-destruct button.

Steven Taylor’s rash swinging arm challenge on Aguero earned him a red card and a sharp rebuke from Neville, who described it as ‘stupid…silly…let his team-mates down’.

Carragher added: ‘If you are going to get booked or sent off, do it tackling somebody.’

So the Neville and Carragher partnership is now really off and running. And it’s Manchester United versus Chelsea next Monday night!

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