Roy Keane and Ian Wright’s on-air spat sparked Ofcom review

Ian Wright mocks Roy Keane during 2018 World Cup coverage

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England face Poland in a World Cup qualifier in Warsaw tonight. The Three Lions go into the game after two consecutive 4-0 victories, first over Hungary and then Andorra. Gareth Southgate’s team face one of their toughest tests of qualifying at the PGE Narodawy Stadium, as Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski returns for the home side.

He was absent due to injury in the reverse fixture at Wembley.

Coverage of the match starts on ITV at 7:15pm, where Mark Pougatch will be joined by Emma Hayes, Ian Wright and everybody’s favourite pundit Roy Keane.

The match kicks off at 7:45pm, with a commentary team of Sam Matterface and Lee Dixon, and Gabriel Clarke pitchside.

Wright and Keane have been active in the media since hanging up their boots.

Arsenal legend Wright is a pundit for both BBC Sport and ITV Sport, while Man United icon Keane gives his expert opinions on ITV and Sky Sports’ Super Sunday.

Keane, in particular, is regularly at the centre of attention with his no-nonsense opinions.

Wright, however, landed himself in a predicament during the 2018 World Cup in a tense encounter with the Irishman after England’s heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Croatia.

Keane, who was sent home from the 2002 World Cup after a furious row with then-Ireland boss Mick McCarthy, slammed England for overlooking their opponents.

He said: “Before the game, all the talk was about the final and France.

“I made the point a few weeks ago, I know a bit tongue-in-cheek but you focus on one game and football’s coming home.

“I didn’t mind you being happy but you got carried away, planning the final and the parades. And I was right. You needed a reality check.”

England fans faced criticism for singing Three Lions by Baddiel and Skinner earlier this summer.

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Little do those critics know the song was intended to highlight the lack of English success along the years.

Wright took offence to Keane’s remarks, and hit back: “We wasn’t [sic] talking about the final, we were just having a laugh with you.

“We were happy. Why can’t we get excited?”

Keane referenced how hard it is to reach major tournaments, or in England’s case, the final.

However, some fans did not agree with the way responded, claiming he “mocked” the Irishman’s accent.

One took to Twitter and said: “If anyone out there was wondering why Irish people can’t support England, just watch Ian Wright resort to attempting to impersonate Roy Keane’s accent when he’s losing an argument and try to imagine that occurring to you on a daily basis.”

Another claimed: “Roy Keane talking pure sense on ITV. Shows how limited Ian Wright is as a pundit when all he can do is mock Keane’s accent.”

Ofcom received complaints from a number of viewers and so reviewed the footage to assess whether they held water.

It issued a statement in response, saying: “We carefully assessed complaints from viewers who objected to one pundit imitating another’s accent.

“However, we found the exchange was intended in good humour.”

ITV’s third pundit tonight, Chelsea Women manager Hayes, earned widespread praise during the recent Euro 2020 tournament for his expert commentary and punditry skills.

Poland vs England kicks off at 7:45pm tonight. Coverage is available on ITV, BBC Radio 5Live and talkSPORT.

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