'I talk nonsense at times, but what I saw on Irish TV last night…wow' - Robbie Savage on Eamon Dunphy criticism
Robbie Savage has hit out at Eamon Dunphy for his stinging critique of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill following Tuesday night’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying defeat against Serbia.
Former Leicester midfielder and BT Sport pundit Savage caused a Twitter storm when he posted an image of RTÉ pundit Dunphy and asked his followers to identify who the veteran broadcaster was mid-way through his post-match TV rant, which focused on his long-standing belief that Wes Hoolahan should be a started in every Ireland match.
Dunphy's suggestion that Ireland could have converted a 1-1 draw against Georgia last Saturday into a victory was ridiculed by Savage, who Dunphy’s outspoken analysis of Ireland’s demise was misguided.
“No disrespect to Eamon Dunphy, he is a man of opinions and he must be doing something right because he has been in the TV industry for a long time, but I thought he was talking nonsense when I saw him on TV,” stated Savage at an eir Sport event in Dublin. “If you are talking nonsense, you need to back it up with facts, which I didn’t see or hear.
“He was saying that if Wes Hoolahan started against Georgia, Ireland would have got three points, which I find absolutely bizarre.
“Wes Hoolahan has played the majority of his career in the Championship and you are telling me he would win a game in Georgia? Eamon Dunphy suggests a guy who can’t get into the Norwich side every week is good enough to win an international game on his own...what that's just nonsense.
“Wes Hoolahan is nice with the ball, but the emphasis on a 35-year-old from that particular pundit was just bizarre. I am not having a go at Wes Hoolahan because it’s not his fault, but if Eamon Dunphy talks about him all the time and thinks he can pick out the perfect pass, surely he would be starting for Norwich every week.
“Anyone can go on the radio and TV and hammer people. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, but back it up with facts. I talk nonsense at times, but what I saw on Irish TV last night…wow.”
Savage admitted he ‘genuinely didn’t know who Dunphy was' when he posted his appeal for information on his identity on his Twitter feed, with the reaction taking him by surprise.
“I only found out who he was on social media,” he continued. “I don't get his TV station in my house, I have never seen him play football, I don’t know him. I was at my hotel last night after watching the Wales games, I flicked over to RTÉ to see this gentleman, well presented, and I just put a message on twitter asking who he was.
“My timeline went crazy and I was trending in Ireland on Twitter a few minutes later, but no disrespect, I had to Google him to see who he was. I’m not being rude, but I didn’t know who he was.”
Savage also suggested the criticism of his former Leicester manager O’Neill in the Irish media was misplaced, as he suggested Ireland were punching above their weight by competing for qualification in Group D alongside Serbia and Wales.
“How many Ireland players would get in the Wales side and how many Ireland players would get into the Serbia side?” he asked.
“Also, they were fourth seeds in this group when the draw was made. These are the facts, yet Martin O’Neill is getting criticised because they are not playing well or not qualifying. If they win the last qualifying game in Cardiff, they might still get over the line.
“I just can’t believe the criticism O’Neill got from getting a point in Georgia. They could have won that game.
“What is Ireland’s best style of football? Can they outpass teams? No. When I look at Ireland as a squad, I think any manager would have trouble with them.
“Ireland don’t have any leaders in that team. Where is the Robbie Keane, the Roy Keane? Where is the Shay Given shouting orders? Where is the Niall Quinn for the knock downs. They don't have a Richard Dunne at the back any more.
“Expectations from football fans are far too high now. What do people seriously expect from Ireland? I just don’t get it.”
eir Sport will screen every Champions League game live plus exclusive Europa League coverage. It also has exclusive rights to major Premier League action, as well as coverage of rugby's European Champions Cup and the AIB Club Championships.