Ray Wilkins was on Sky Sports this week speaking about Manchester United’s new signing, Benfica defender Victor Lindelöf. Instead of talking up an exciting new prospect, signed by his former club, he chose to highlight how English players like Michael Keane keep getting overlooked. If you missed the Ray Wilkins interview, watch it, its gold. It has just about everything you’d expect from an out of date, football dinosaur.
He starts by saying “This guy (Lindelöf) has done nothing”. For the record, Victor Lindelöf has won Primeira Liga three times, three Portuguese cups, and the Under-21 Euros with Sweden, at just 22 years of age. Granted, I didn’t know all this about Lindelöf but it takes 10 seconds to look up such things, also known as basic research. He ends with “Give him (Keane) a chance”, unlike the chance he’s given Lindelöf who has been judged before he has even been officially unveiled. It is at this point I must remind everyone that Keane has already played for United so has had a “chance” and was deemed not good enough. He also has time to have a go at the foreign market for being so expensive, but who in their right mind would sell to Man United on the cheap?
When Wilkins was at Chelsea they spent £50m on Fernando Torres, which remains a record at Stamford Bridge to this day, and spent big on David Luiz and Ramires from Benfica (where United are buying Lindelöf from of all places). Oh and before I forget, Wilkins, who was assistant to Carlo Ancelotti for 3 years, signed just one English player in that time.
It was the same when Marco Silva joined Hull City and was laughed at in spite of managing in the Champions League and winning several titles. I find it staggering that UK pundits do little or no research. I don’t expect every football talking head to know about every single player the world over, but mate do you Googles. Some of these guys are paid very handsomely and I doubt they watch anything other than the Premier League. In a month spent laughing at politicians for publicly getting their facts and figures wrong, how many pundits know their numbers? How many do simple research? Knowing who the next big thing is from Holland or Brazil could be the difference in getting paid work and a television or writing opportunity could depend on it.
This week, Sky Sports announced their lowest audiences since records began, which makes sense, I mean who pay would listen to this nonsense for £70 a month? The modern fan is very clued up, they crave insight. That’s why Monday Night Football has been such an incredible success. I’d suggest Sky Sports get rid Ray Wilkins, Paul Merson and “the lads” and getting some proper experts in. Hopefully Sky have learned a valuable lesson.Wilkins was rightly mocked on social media as he clearly didn’t know anything about Lindelöf. If he isn’t an expert, why should we tune in?