Viewers who have been watching Gary Lineker’s return to Match of the Day this evening have suggested that maybe Lineker hasn’t had enough time off from work, as he sounds a little bit under the weather.
The former England, Leicester City, and Barcelona striker was back in his usual spot this evening to head up coverage of Manchester City’s FA Cup tie against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium, having been stood down last week after comments he made on Twitter sparked a row about free speech and BBC impartiality.
That drew criticism from many supporters of the government, including comment from the Prime Minister himself.
In the end, the BBC decided to take Lineker off the air, but that sparked a widespread show of solidarity from his fellow football broadcasters, with pundits such as Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, and Alex Scott all refusing to take their place on the show.
That meant that last week’s regular English football round-up show took place over 20 minutes with no hosts and no commentary.
Now, they are back, and Shearer started this evening’s coverage by making an apology to the audiences that missed out last week, as well as employees who were affected.
The ex-Newcastle United man said: “I wanted to say how upset we were that all the audiences missed out on last weekend.
“It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned and through no fault of their own some really great people in TV and radio were put in an impossible situation."
Lineker responded: “I echo those sentiments.”
For once this week, it wasn’t about what Lineker actually said, but how he said it.
Keen viewers of this evening’s match noticed that Lineker actually sounds a little bit croaky and under the weather.
One said: "Lineker sounding a bit croaky there."
Another wrote: "It’s pretty ironic that Lineker is back on our televisions after getting into trouble for having his voice heard…and he’s losing his voice!
“He sounds rough as a badger’s nether regions, bless him!"
A third commented: "Lineker sounds so ill man, no way he wasn’t hosting this though.
"Fair play to the man."
A fourth comment suggested: "Lineker sounds awful. Should have another week off."
This evening, Lineker was joined in the studio by Shearer and former Manchester City man Micah Richards, watching former City captain Vincent Kompany return to his old stomping ground to take on his ex-manager Pep Guardiola for a place in the FA Cup semi final.
Burnley, currently riding high in the Championship, are still massive underdogs against City, who sit second in the Premier League and thrashed RB Leipzig 7-0 in the Champions League this week.Featured Image Credit: BBC/Twitter/@GaryLineker