Sky Sports presented a Sunday Supplement special live from the Ethiad Stadium on Sunday morning ahead of the big meeting between Manchester City and Arsenal. Gary Neville made a guest appearance as he joined journalists Martin Samuel (Daily Mail), Henry Winter (Daily Telegraph) and Oliver Holt (Mail on Sunday) along with host Neil Ashton.
There was plenty of issues up for discussion that create some interesting debate, mainly it was a case of Neville versus the journalists. However, the former Manchester full back conducted himself well and his arguments had some extremely valid points.
One such issue that was top of the agenda was unsurprisingly the tiring Loris Karius debate which is essentially a mountain made out of a mole hill. As a pundit, Neville was doing his job and he was accurate in his criticism of Karius. Despite the fight-back from Klopp and his keeper, the fact that Karius has been dropped since should really settle it in Neville’s favour.
Here is the transcript on what Neville had to say on the Sunday Supplement.
“It became a big story because the player, coach and Liverpool added fuel to a fire that wasn’t there.
“Two weeks ago my most critical comments were about a United and an Everton player. No one will remember what my comments were because United and Everton never reacted to it, the players never reacted to it and they were forgotten about.
“I called Fellaini pathetic and idiotic and I battered Stekelenburg for his part in Ibrahimovic’s goal.
“I said Karius transmits anxiety and nervousness to his team-mates. The other two stories have disappeared to the point at which no one can remember them, that’s how I would expect press departments of football clubs to deal with these things.
“When Karius did his newspaper interview I knew he would be out of the team in a few days, I knew he brought pressure on himself. Young players should always do interviews and me saying, ‘stay clear of the situation’ – my advice to Karius after doing the interview he did – and Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher telling him to stay quiet, as ex-players, we were more guiding him saying, ‘this is not a fight for now.’ From our point of view as pundits though, we did our job, we created the debate.”
It is ironic that on the same day, Neville also hammered Fellaini and Steklenburg more severely than he did to Karius. As the pundit points out, it has been the reaction of Karius and his manager that made this an actual thing.
Oliver Holt then accused Neville of bullying which was quite bizarre.
“It came across as bullying, it was like a collective ganging up on him. He had the temerity to call you out and said you got bombed out at Valencia, you obviously got the hump about that and you had a dig.”
“I absolutely didn’t, Oli. My dig back at his was a WhatsApp group chat with Carragher poking fun at him. He can have a dig at me for the next six months, I would always say to a player going into an interview to say what is going to help you win games, what is going to make you play better? The fact he took on the interview is fun but did it actually help him? Did Jurgen Klopp’s interview help him?”
The fact that Carragher was also extremely critical of the German goalkeeper yet did not get a mention certainly raises a few eyebrows.
“From my point of view, calling it bullying young players is absolutely ridiculous. I was critical of David de Gea a few years ago and he’s gone on to prove me wrong through silence and good performances. There was nothing personal against Karius, it was an observation. At the time, the statement ‘he transmits anxiety to his team-mates and around the stadium’ was correct. From my point of view there was fuel added to the fire and the story grew, it could have been forgotten about like Stekelenburg and Fellaini.”
Karius could learn a thing or two from De Gea!
Journalist Henry Winter took a neutral and sensible stance on the whole issue.
“I think he’s got to stand up for his player and if he wants to have a go back at Gary that’s his prerogative. We always say we want people to come out and talk and that’s why it was always great to cover your career, Gary, because you came out and talked. We need more people coming out. Players are in a pressure industry, if they can’t deal with a couple of headlines they shouldn’t be here.”
Neville: “We’re not that important.”
Finally Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail produced a brilliant response into why Karius has been dropped.
“It’s because he kept throwing the ball into his own net, that’s what got him dropped.”