Tag Archives: studio

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina acts out pre-match rituals

Reina's rituals: Liverpool No 1 acts out pre-match superstitions on TV show… but will it be enough to stop Van Persie

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

10:31 GMT, 10 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:37 GMT, 10 January 2013

As a goalkeeper coming up against the Barclays Premier League's most in-form striker this weekend, Liverpool's Pepe Reina will need all the help he can get.

Thankfully, the Spaniard will be very thorough in his preparations as he bids to thwart Manchester United's Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.

The superstitious keeper talked through his elaborate pre-match rituals on a Spanish television show this week, proving that he leaves absolutely nothing to chance.

Scroll down for video

Superstitious: Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina goes through an elaborate series of rituals before kick-off and showed them on a Spanish TV show

Superstitious: Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina goes through an elaborate series of rituals before kick-off and showed them on a Spanish TV show

To howls of laughter from the studio audience, Reina acted out the routine he will perform when he reaches the goalmouth ahead of kick-off on Sunday afternoon.

He touches the turf and then crosses himself, knocks both posts and the crossbar, before pacing out four strides into his six-yard area.

Reina then limbers up with some squat thrusts and a couple of shimmies to get the muscles warm.

But as he revealed in his autobiography last year, Reina's rituals start the evening before when he eats two ham and cheese toasties and drinks a glass of wine to help him sleep.

Driven: Reina ensures his car is full of petrol before every home matchday

Driven: Reina ensures his car is full of petrol before every home matchday

But it's on home match days that things start to get a little weird. He wrote: 'I get up and have a shower, put my suit on and then head out to the car to buy petrol that I usually don't need.

'Six hours before kick-off at Anfield, and before I can even think about the game, I have to get to a petrol station.

'After getting in the car, I turn the engine on and look at the fuel gauge.

'It was almost full. I still need petrol, though, so I head to the same garage that I always go to when Liverpool are at home, a small filling station almost exactly halfway between my home and the stadium.

Success: Reina is a World Cup winner, so perhaps his elaborate rituals do work

Success: Reina is a World Cup winner, so perhaps his elaborate rituals do work

'I get there, open the petrol cap and begin to refuel. I am only at the pump for 20 seconds or so before the tank is full, so I go in to pay. The cashier gives me a bit of a funny look.

'To be fair, I cannot blame him. I have just pulled on to his forecourt, queued up for five minutes behind other motorists and all for 8 worth of petrol, just so my tank is full to the brim.

'He does not know it, but I do the same thing before every home game. It's one of countless rituals I have to perform to make sure I am in the right frame of mind to play for Liverpool.

'My desperation for success makes me superstitious.'

VIDEO: Reina acts out his pre-match routine on TV show (in Spanish)

EXCLUSIVE: Gary Neville takes Sportsmail behind the scenes at Monday Night Football

MNF star Neville takes Sportsmail behind the scenes of the TV show making fans fall in love with punditry again

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 18 December 2012

It is 4.30pm and although Gary Neville is midway through rehearsals for that evening’s Monday Night Football, he is still going through his first item in painstaking detail. Things have to be right and he is unapologetically demanding and meticulous in his preparation.

‘What do we think about this’ the former Manchester United full back asks producer Scott Melvin, as a chart flashes up on his touch screen. ‘I don’t think that’s good enough.’ He is over-ruled. ‘Fine,’ he says, but his arms are folded — it is clearly not fine.

‘Are we comfortable with that colour on this graphic’ is the next question. ‘It’s disgusting,’ Neville continues, without waiting for a reply. ‘I’m not a colours man but… can’t you change it’ It is duly changed.

Oh what a night: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson joined Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio to see how the hugely popular Monday Night Football has become such a big hit

Oh what a night: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson joined Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio to see how the hugely popular Monday Night Football has become such a big hit

Oh what a night: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson joined Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlain in the Sky studio to see how the hugely popular Monday Night Football has become such a big hit

Neville has been at Sky’s studios in
west London since 9.30am, but he is still like a man on fast-forward,
running ‘at 100 miles per hour’.

His intensity, willingness to work
hard and genuine vigour for his sport are startling. It seems the same
qualities that characterised him as a footballer are the ones that mark
him out as a pundit.

‘This is different to football,’ says
the 37-year-old, ‘but there is pressure — and I think that’s the thing
that keeps me excited and stimulated. It’s got to be right.

‘I think information and the detail
are the most important things for me. Nice goals or a lovely finish or
an incident, that will get done a thousand times by everybody else and
there isn’t really much more you can say.

‘I prefer information. I try to do it as if I was looking at it as a player or a coach rather than as entertainment.

‘I don’t think, really, I’m a perfect
broadcaster by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s more around
the information for me. That’s all I can do. If you want a pretty face
or a nice voice then don’t come here.’

Ed Chamberlin, the host of MNF, laughs. ‘Well, I won’t argue with that,’ he says.

The pair have been working together
for barely 18 months but have taken the format made famous by Richard
Key and Andy Gray and made it their own.

There is little ego or arrogance about
Chamberlin, who works without an autocue and fully understands his role
is to ensure Neville is the star of the show.

The presenter continually tries to
tease extra insight and information out of a right back who won 85 caps
for England, constantly asking ‘why’ and ‘how’, which seems to amuse and
frustrate Neville on alternate occasions.

Practice makes perfect: Chamberlain and Neville can be in the studio from 9.30am on the day of the game

Practice makes perfect: Chamberlain and Neville can be in the studio from 9.30am on the day of the game

NEVILLE'S MANIC MONDAY

9.30am Arrive at Sky’s studios in west London.

10am Production meeting. Neville has been feeding ideas to the production team since the previous Wednesday. They discuss what he wants to talk about and the order the pieces should run.

11.30am Neville goes through all the video clips, while Ed Chamberlin studies the running order and familiarises himself with all the links and music.

2pm Lunch.

3pm Rehearsals start on set.

6pm Make-up.

7pm On air. An hour of analysis from the weekend’s games and to preview that night’s Barclays Premier League fixture. Also includes interviews with the managers, live from the ground.

8pm Kick-off.

8.45pm Half-time analysis.

9pm Second half.

9.45pm Full-time analysis, a look back at the weekend’s goals and a Twitter Q&A.

11pm Off air.

‘Ed doesn’t offer opinions on
football,’ says Melvin. ‘It’s different with (Match of the Day
presenter) Gary Lineker. He was a footballer and you would never
begrudge him an opinion.

'But, for me, the presenter’s job is
to probe the guys who have played football. Ed drives it and keeps it
on the rails because otherwise, God knows what would happen.’

It is no mean feat keeping Neville in
check, that’s for sure. He revels in his Aladdin’s cave of touch-screen
boards, slow-motion clips, high camera angles, statistics and league
tables.

The former England defender even had a
screen installed in his Manchester home for nine days to practise
before he started at Sky, only to go bonkers when he found out they had
updated the technology when he arrived in London.

‘I’m obsessed with charts,’ Neville
says, laughing at the nerdy nature of his words. ‘I’ll say, “Make me a
chart, make me a chart”. They argue I don’t need one, just to say it,
but I want everyone at home to know those statistics are there.

‘Every time I do a piece I don’t just
get the clips, I get the statistics. I want statistics to back it up,
so it’s not just my instinct. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking,
“Arsenal are rubbish”. But where are they rubbish Why They can’t be
all rubbish, or all good.

‘You’ve got to offer some perspective. Everything’s so sudden, everyone’s always screaming.

‘I think that’s what people inside
football do better than people in the media because in the media there’s
a need to make everything so dramatic. But, inside football, you
analyse it. You look at it bit by bit and think that’s OK, that’s not
bad, rather than everything being bad or good.’

Neville’s proximity to the game, however, could easily compromise his willingness to say what he sees and how he feels.

He spent all his career at Manchester
United and has a four-year contract with the FA to work under Roy
Hodgson and coach the England senior team, after all.

Gary Neville gets ready for Monday Night Football

Gary Neville gets made up on Monday Night Football

Finishing touches: Neville is still new to football punditry but is brilliantly professional in his preparation

But as Neville watches Arsenal’s 5-2
win at Reading — from a ‘big, wide high camera angle’ because ‘that’s
the only way you can analyse it properly, you can’t watch the ball’ —
there is only a flicker of his allegiance to the national side. When
Jack Wilshere crumples to the ground in the build-up to Reading’s first
goal, Neville suddenly becomes even more animated.

‘Oh! Oh!’ he cries. ‘Wilshere’s done
his knee ligaments. Oh no. Or is it his groin Oh dear.’ Then, ‘Oh,
phew, he’s OK. What price 5-4 Reading now’

Neville’s affiliations make him more
accountable than most but he insists he remains deliberately detached
from the insular, pally world of football.

His reasoning is as clear as the
straightforward manner in which he is able to talk through a set-piece
or analyse the build-up to a goal: you cannot criticise someone on live
television one day and go for a pint with them the next.

‘I don’t speak to too many people,’
he says. ‘I think if you speak to too many people you become friendly
with them and it might not be as honest an assessment.

‘You get to know people — “All right,
how are you mate” — and a week later they think you’re stitching them
up. Don’t get too close. I do know people but I spent my life at one
club.

‘People at the start, understandably,
were asking how it would work, but I think I’ve been as honest as I
can be about United games and most people seem to have accepted the fact
that I’ve praised or criticised their team.

‘I think fans are pretty honest. They
don’t want rubbish. If their team play well they know they’ve played
well. If they haven’t, they know that, too. You try to show why or how
because they know the rest themselves. You’re always looking for the
most interesting bits. Less fluff, more gruff.’

And they're off: The show has received rave reviews this season thanks to Neville's expert analysis

And they're off: The show has received rave reviews this season thanks to Neville's expert analysis

The enjoyment Neville derives from his
new role is obvious, even if he can barely contain his energy, pacing
up and down during advertising breaks and badgering the producer with
ideas as early as the Wednesday before a show.

This opportunity to have the last
word on the weekend’s action is, after all, both the programme’s
strength and its continual challenge — how do you be significantly
different from what has gone before, on television and social media
and in the newspapers

Neville consumes information from all these outlets but still has to offer new insight on a Monday night.

As you can probably imagine, he is not
short of ideas, although the transition from player to pundit has not
been as straight-forward as you might think.

‘The more I relax, the more I become a
little lighthearted,’ says Neville. ‘But on the first show last year, I
was 100 miles per hour. I was like a train with no brakes. I used to
get an incredibly dry mouth because I was so nervous. I’ve not done
anything like this before in my life.

‘And my hands! Oh my hands. That was a
massive problem. What do you do with them when you’re standing at the
touchscreen Now I carry my pen with me because you’ve got something to
focus on.

‘I was everywhere — my hands were
terrible. I got a lot of feedback: hands and my hair, which is a
continual challenge — I’ve just given up on that.’

Giving up That must be a first for Neville, surely.

Sky Sports is the home of football
with more than 500 live matches every season including Barclays Premier
League, UEFA Champions League, internationals, the npower Football
League and more.

Joey Barton has TV presenters in stitches with comedy French accent

Game for a laugh! Barton has TV presenters in stitches with comedy French accent

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UPDATED:

13:49 GMT, 27 November 2012

The immediate reactions across the
nation would have been mixed.

Stunned silence, head-in-hands, a wry
smile and maybe a few belly laughs.

But not even the professional
broadcasters inside the Sky Sports News studio could hold it together as
they showed footage of Joey Barton's cringing French accent live on
air.

VIDEO: WATCH JOEY BARTON'S HILARIOUS FRENCH ACCENT

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The footage of Barton, who is on loan
at Marseille from QPR, in a press conference became a viral sensation
over the internet on Monday and caused presenter Kirsty Gallacher to
hide behind paper notes on the desk to try and mask her laughing.
Co-presenter Jim White didn't seem to help.

The transfer deadline day favourite
reacted by going into his own French accent which did little to calm the
giggles that had got the better of Gallacher.

White is arguably more convincing
with his take on the accent and using it was keen to point out to Barton
that he is a long way off mastering the French language.

Gaffe: Joey Barton spoke in a French accent at the press conference after his league debut for Marseille

Gaffe: Joey Barton spoke in a French accent at the press conference after his league debut for Marseille

Funny side: Sky Sports News presenter Jim White

Funny side: Sky Sports News presenter Jim White

White said (in a French accent): 'The
thing is Kirsty, is I think Joey thinks by talking like that by going
up at the end of every sentence and doing the shoulder bit he is
actually speaking French. But Joey, you're actually not.'

Barton's accent has already been
compared to Steve McClaren's Dutch accent which was quickly adopted by
the Twente boss shortly after joining the club during his first spell in
charge in 2008, following his dismissal as England boss just months
before.

VIDEO: Kirsty and Jim can't help but have a laugh!

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Links have also been made with 'Allo! 'Allo! character Officer Crabtree.

Barton responded on Twitter soon after his accent video emerged.

The midfielder said: 'Steve MaClaren
(sic) eat your heart out…'In my defence, it is very difficult to do a
press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists. The
alternative is to speak..like a 'Allo Allo!' character which is choose.
Its simply a case of you had to be there. #youstupidwomen!'

Applause: Barton is on loan to the French team from British side QPR

Applause: Barton is on loan to the French team from British side QPR

Oh 'Allo! Barton sounded alarmingly like Officer Crabtree from the hit television series

VIDEO: WATCH STEVE MCCLAREN SPEAK IN A FAUX DUTCH ACCENT

TMS to cover England tour of India after BBC agree deal

Test Match Special WILL cover England's tour to India after fee deadlock broken

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UPDATED:

13:30 GMT, 1 November 2012

Cricket lovers are breathing a sigh of relief after the BBC reached a deal with the Indian cricket board to broadcast Test Match Special coverage of England's tour to India.

The Beeb's iconic cricket commentary team had threatened to go silent over what they called 'unreasonable demands' being made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to broadcast the series.

The BCCI was reportedly demanding the BBC an extra 50,000 to cover radio production costs at the four Tests in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Nagpur and Kolkata.

Voice of TMS: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew (right)

Voice of TMS: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew (right)

The Corporation had stood firm over the demands, and TMS producer Adam Mountford revealed on Twitter: 'We are pleased to confirm that Test Match Special will broadcast England's cricket tour of India from the grounds.'

Sofa wars: Editor of The Cricketer defends Test Match Sofa in row with BBC's Test Match Special

Click here to read the full story.

Sky were also asked for an additional 500,000 to install television studios at each ground but intend to use the voices of Sir Ian Botham, David Gower, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain, commentating in a west London studio, over pictures fed by Indian host broadcaster Star Sports.

TMS were reluctant to follow Sky's lead due to the similar service provided by Test Match Sofa website, which provides commentary from south west London based on a TV feed.

Iconic: The BBC's Test Match Special is revered by cricket lovers

Iconic: The BBC's Test Match Special is revered by cricket lovers thanks to its brilliant commentary team and lunchtime guests, such as Lily Allen (below)

Special guest: Lily Allen speaks on Test Match Special

A row broke out on Thursday between current BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, the TMS anchor, and Andrew Miller, editor of The Cricketer magazine, over the latter's defence of Test Match Sofa, which was published on MailOnline.

Agnew has threatened to boycott the magazine over Miller's article, and received support from England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad on Twitter.

TMS has attracted a devoted following since it took to the airwaves in 1957, thanks to the likes of legendary broadcasters John Arlott, Brian Johnston and Agnew.

Among those joining Agnew on TMS's commentary team in India will be Henry Blofeld, Simon Mann, Prakash Wakankar, Geoffrey Boycott and Victor Marks.

Sky Sports set to broadcast England"s tour of India from London

Sky's commentary team set to stay home after Board of Control for Cricket in India ask for extra 500K

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 25 October 2012

The Sky Sports commentary team look set to cover England's four-Test series from their studios in west London after the Board of Control for Cricket in India asked them for an extra 500,000 to broadcast from inside their grounds.

The BCCI's request is said to be unprecedented and Sky have turned it down, with one insider describing the Indian board's demands as 'not the done thing'.

Unless a compromise can be reached, the likes of Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd and Ian Botham will provide their ball-by-ball commentary from the Sky studio instead, using footage sent by Star TV, the host broadcaster.

Staying put Nasser Hussain (right) and the rest of Sky's commentary team could be forced to broadcast from west London

Staying put Nasser Hussain (right) and the rest of Sky's commentary team could be forced to broadcast from west London

Sky viewers who want to listen to the Indian commentary live from the venues will be able to do so via the red button.

England and India are the only Test nations which habitually send their own commentators on overseas trips.

Some of the English contingent have been critical in the past of BCCI decision-making, particularly their stance on the decision review system, which the board continue to veto.

Live commentary from BBC radio's Test Match Special team could also be under threat.

Kevin Pietersen dances Gangnam style on Indian cricket show

It's cricket 'Gangnam Style' as Pietersen tries to imitate Gayle on Indian television show

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 8 October 2012

If anyone is wondering what Kevin Pietersen has been up while his England teammates crashed out of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, then look no further.

While most television pundits offer a few half-formed soundbites to pass the time between the live action, KP has been busy reinventing the job description.

He was challenged to upstage West Indies big hitter Chris Gayle at his favourite dance move – the Gangnam style made famous by Korean rapper PSY.

Scroll down to watch the video

Smooth moves: Pietersen tries to imitate Chris Gayle by dancing Gangnam Style in a TV studio

Smooth moves: Pietersen tries to imitate Chris Gayle by dancing Gangnam Style in a TV studio

Yee-haw! KP goes for the rodeo part of the dance made famous by K-Pop artist PSY

Yee-haw! KP goes for the rodeo part of the dance made famous by K-Pop artist PSY

Gayle has made the thrusting hips, chicken elbows and rodeo arms of the dance craze his trademark on the cricket field as the West Indies stormed to victory in the tournament.

But KP, dressed in a sharp grey suit and shades, gave a pretty good imitation on ESPN-Star's Cricket Extra programme.

Pietersen, who has been re-admitted into the England team following his text message scandal with former captain Andrew Strauss, has been working as a pundit on the show.

Rhythm: Pietersen wins up to his grand Gangnam finale

Rhythm: Pietersen wins up to his grand Gangnam finale

Champion moves: Gayle performs the dance after the West Indies win the World Twenty20

Champion moves: Gayle performs the dance after the West Indies win the World Twenty20

But his moves didn't impress fellow analysts Sourav Ganguly and Wasim Akram, who both said Gayle had the better rhythm.

Gayle was the first to bring the Gangnam style, which has been the number one single in the UK and across Europe, to the cricket pitch.

In a recent interview, Gayle said: 'I saw the video a couple of months ago. When it came out, there was a lot of talk about it. That's how I got into it.

'It depends on what sort of mood I'm in. It's a good dance to be honest. I enjoy it. Everybody does.'

Now watch the video of KP dancing Gangnam Style

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Kevin Pietersen saga – the end for Andy Flower?

Pietersen comeback edges closer – but will saga spell the end for Flower

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 30 September 2012

Kevin Pietersen begins life as a free agent in a Colombo TV studio on Monday with his future still hanging like a dark cloud over all that England do.

It is still expected that as soon as England return home from the World Twenty20 they will announce that Pietersen has signed a new central contract to replace the one that expired on Sunday night.

But even that would be far from the end of this sorry story. In fact, it could be just the beginning.

Crabby: Pietersen posted a picture of himself on Twitter on Sunday enjoying a meal and he is expected to be back in the England fold soon

Crabby: Pietersen posted a picture of himself on Twitter on Sunday enjoying a meal and he is expected to be back in the England fold soon

So deep is the rift between Pietersen and some key figures in the England set-up that his re-integration into the team could be a long and painful process, whether it starts for the one-day series in India in the new year or, more likely, the full tour of New Zealand that begins in February.

Talks here in Sri Lanka between Pietersen and senior ECB figures, with the baton being passed from Hugh Morris to board chairman Giles Clarke last week, appear to have been largely productive – but it is what happens next that is key.

The ‘provocative’ text messages Pietersen sent to South African players during last summer’s Test series are still the biggest obstacle to him being fully welcomed back by coach Andy Flower and senior England players.

The whole saga seems to have weighed particularly heavily on Flower’s shoulders and his attitude towards having Pietersen back will be integral to any contractual resolution and a successful return to the team.

End of the road Flower has suffered from the saga

End of the road Flower has suffered from the saga

More to do: Pietersen's future is not yet resolved

More to do: Pietersen's future is not yet resolved

The biggest worry for the ECB is that Flower might have become so wearied by the shadow this crisis has cast over England that it will hasten the exit of the most successful and highly regarded coach they have ever had.

Then there is the matter of Alastair Cook being keen to appoint an official vice-captain ahead of England’s Test tour to India, a move that could have implications for the peace process because it is likely to be one of the senior players who are least inclined to want Pietersen back.

The players, of course, will just have to get on with it if they are told that Pietersen is to return. But every aspect of their attitude towards their erstwhile team-mate, and his to them, will be under scrutiny from the moment he sets foot in an England environment.

It will be the biggest examination yet of the team spirit and respect that Flower holds so dear.

On the surface there really should not be too much delaying a resolution now. Pietersen has apologised to Andrew Strauss for the messages and has insisted to England that he is committed to all forms of cricket.

But any announcement from Clarke over the next few days will be merely another chapter in a drama that will run and run.

Kevin Pietersen has days to save England career

Controversial Pietersen has just days to save international career

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UPDATED:

08:28 GMT, 27 September 2012

The clock is ticking on Kevin Pietersen's status as a centrally-contracted England cricketer.

If the controversial South Africa-born batsman cannot agree a new deal by October 1, next Monday, then he will cease to be an employee of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

For the first time since Pietersen burst on the international scene with his Ashes-clinching exploits at The Oval seven years ago, he would therefore become a free agent.

Clock's ticking: KP has just days to save his international career

Clock's ticking: KP has just days to save his international career

Following his summer of contract wrangles with the ECB, and breakdown of his working relationship with former Test captain Andrew Strauss and England coach Andy Flower, Pietersen's name was absent from the list of central deals announced at the start of this month.

Last week, it is understood he turned down the offer of a four-month – rather than the conventional annual – contract, and was subsequently left out of the squad due to tour India for four Tests from the end of next month.

Left at home: KP wasn't included in England's T20 squad

Left at home: KP wasn't included in England's T20 squad

The 32-year-old is also missing from England's defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown, a campaign set to resume today with a crucial Super Eight match against West Indies at Pallekele.

As England won through to the second stage of this tournament, Pietersen has been confined to a Colombo broadcast studio to attend to his lucrative duties as a television pundit.

Amid reports suggesting he may consider a possible legal action against the ECB, should no new contract be forthcoming in the next four days, mixed messages continue to emanate on the success or otherwise of his negotiations with his employers.

Pietersen's central contract could be reinstated at any time, even after Monday's deadline, and he recently told the world – via his Twitter feed – of his optimism that the situation is 'all sorted' and he hopes to be back in the England fold in time to tour New Zealand early next year.

His well-chronicled disputes with the ECB appeared initially to centre on his wish to play a full Indian Premier League campaign next spring, at a time when England have Test match obligations.

He subsequently committed himself to play for England, whenever selected, in all formats – but was nonetheless dropped from the team for last month's Lord's Test against his native South Africa, because of the content of 'provocative' text messages he had sent to opposition players during the previous match at Headingley.

Flower has made it clear more than once that the details of those texts – whether or not they contained 'derogatory' references to Strauss – remain a major sticking point, among others. It therefore still remains to be seen whether Pietersen will ever play for his adopted country again.

Euro 2012: BBC beat ITV thanks to Gary Lineker: Brian Barwick

Brian Barwick: Euro triumph for BBC as Lineker's easy style wins out

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 1 July 2012

Two things happened at the quarter-final stage of this year’s European Championship – England went home after yet another penalty shootout nightmare – and ITV all but went home with them.

Both semi-finals were live only on BBC TV, whilst Sunday's final between Spain and Italy was shared by the two broadcasters.

For the BBC, this is always a nice way to finish a tournament – unlike England they always win it. Whatever the reason, whether it’s tradition, preference, personnel, absence of commercials or trust, ITV will have conceded another defeat to their rivals in this head-to-head.

Well oiled: BBC once more impressed, bettering the efforts of their rivals

Well oiled: BBC once more impressed, bettering the efforts of their rivals

And yet this time around, at Euro 2012, ITV put up a decent fight, certainly in the early stages of the competition.

I thought they had the better opening titles, theme music and studio set, critically based in Warsaw, and there was just a greater sense of confidence about their presentation and production than in recent times.

The BBC certainly picked up their own game after a sluggish start to Euro 2012 – not helped by initially presenting from the UK – and have subsequently finished strongly.

Gary Lineker began his broadcasting career with a short tense opening line in a highlights programme during Euro 96. He was nervous, and so was I, having helped him make some of the early steps in his post-football career.

Leading man: Gary Lineker

Leading man: Gary Lineker

He is now completely at ease in his ‘second trade’ and seemed to enjoy the tournament. Presenters, like footballers, want to be involved in the biggest occasions – and Euro 2012 has allowed Lineker to do that.

I think he has been particularly at his strongest when coaxing answers and opinions out of studio guests like Harry Redknapp, David Moyes, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Vialli and Jurgen Klinsmann. With them, he was objective, sharp, inquisitive and inclusive.

In contrast, his exchanges with the two resident ‘Alans’ – Hansen and Shearer, can suffer sometimes from over-familiarity. Next stop for Lineker, a peak-time presentation slot on the Olympics. I wish him well.

Over on ITV, Adrian Chiles is an intriguing mix; a producer’s nightmare – ‘where’s he taking us now’ – but with an endearing manner that often involves asking the questions the fans at home want answered.

You sense that to Chiles, the programme’s running order is something to rest his coffee on – but in Chiles and Lineker, both good ‘live’ television exponents, you do have a choice of styles.

For all the hard work and hard cash put into recruiting the star studio guests, the viewer often spends more time in the company of the commentary teams as they describe the live action.

This time for me, BBC’s Guy Mowbray and Mark Lawrenson pick up the winners’ medals. They work well off each other and are at their best when they lay off the comedy, and concentrate on ‘who passed to who’ and why.

Mark the commentator beats Mark the comedian every time.

The size of the TV audiences for Euro 2012 have been remarkable, and not just for the England matches – they are always blockbusters and continue to re-write TV history. However, it was often an early group game between two less glamorous sides that turned in an audience figure that The Voice would have died for.

Putting up a good fight: ITV got more right than wrong at Euro 2012

Putting up a good fight: ITV got more right than wrong at Euro 2012

For the BBC and ITV it has all added up to a bumper three weeks – with the Corporation also currently in the throes of an exciting Wimbledon and London 2012 less than a month away.

A few closing thoughts. Lee Dixon continues to impress as a pundit, Roy Keane produced some magical stares and stunning short responses. Loved Balotelli’s close-ups, UEFA should control the excessive pre-match stadium PA noise – listening to respected radio broadcasters like Mike Ingham and Alan Green struggling to hear and be heard is not on.

Well done Sky Sports News for their comprehensive event reports and plaudits to the match directors and production teams who have delivered consistently high standards of match coverage.

Roll on Brazil and the 2014 World Cup.