Is Tim Sherwood the worst pundit in English football? Ask Cole Palmer

Dave Tickner
Tim Sherwood speaks about Arsenal

Is there really any further need for any of us to be subjected to any more Tim Sherwood?

Really, the correct time for broadcasters to stop using Sherwood as a pundit was before they started, but that he somehow lingers in the B and C lists for a job that he clearly doesn’t consider worthy of any effort is becoming extremely tedious.

It’s not just that he’s not very good at it and has absolutely nothing of interest to add to any conversation beyond the blandest and most superficial Proper Football Man platitudes, cliches and catchphrases, it’s not just that he’s got an irritating voice that guffs out this mush he calls punditry, it’s not just that Sherwood has done absolutely nothing in the last 25 years to justify his apparent standing in the industry.

It is all those things, but it’s more. He’s just quite clearly, quite obviously, quite unpleasant, isn’t he? Now that might be less of a problem if he possessed genuine wit, or was notably articulate, or possessed a specific skill for breaking the game down and helping viewers understand it.

READ: Daniel Sturridge is the Joey Barton-goading pundit striking the perfect balance for Sky Sports

Similarly, he might be able to get away with having no insight or wisdom to share were he an entertaining and engaging screen presence.

But he isn’t. Just the unpleasantness and the tired old “he’s got to score from there and he’ll be disappointed with that, at the end of the day” punditry style.

His post-match interview – if we can call it that – with Cole Palmer after Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Newcastle was simply excruciating.

“All you need are some players to play with,” chucklef***ed the former Spurs and Villa embarrassment by way of an opening gambit, casually calling all Palmer’s team-mates sh*t and expecting to get…what? A laugh? Agreement?

As Palmer stared back at Sherwood with barely-concealed disgust, the great man bumbled on.

“I know you can’t say that, but I’m saying it. I just think you need more quality around you.

“For me, [Pochettino] needs to build the team around you – with the quality you have, but that will come with a few transfer windows hopefully once he gets the right players in.”

Palmer, to his enormous credit, dealt with it admirably. But he shouldn’t have to. A young player enjoying a truly exciting breakthrough season in an admittedly struggling side shouldn’t have to defend the quality within the squad.

He did so, nimbly dodging the trap Sherwood had so artlessly set, with a boilerplate “there’s lots of quality here” response.

But what else could he say? We can complain about media-coached players all we like, but we also can’t really expect to get a young up-and-coming star like Palmer come on the telly and go “Yeah, I am the best, and everyone else here is crap tbh.”

What was the best Sherwood thought would happen here? There’s just a total lack of empathy or understanding of Palmer’s position, and that’s supposed to be the one most basic and fundamental thing former players and coaches can bring to the table.

Sherwood has no filter. No way of behaving differently around a young player making his way than he would when slapping thighs and exchanging anecdotes with his PFM mates. And, ironically, this made him come across as the child in the exchange. A PFM manchild.

There’s just really no logical reason why Sherwood should remain gainfully employed in this role. He adds nothing to it, and treats it with contempt anyway.

Remember that time he couldn’t even be bothered to confirm which way the teams were playing in his Soccer Saturday game and started teeing off at the ref for not giving a penalty when he had in fact correctly awarded a free-kick to the defending side? It’s such a revealing mistake, because it’s a mortifying error that no broadcaster should ever be able to come back from, but instead it’s a few chuckles with Merse after Clinton Morrison painstakingly explains to the former professional footballer and manager alongside him what the difference is between an attacker and a defender.

The contrast with someone like Daniel Sturridge is enormous.

Now maybe we’re being unfair in comparing the worst pundit in the country to our new favourite, but we’re going to do it anyway because, frankly, f*ck Tim Sherwood.

Look at how engaging Sturridge is, for a start. Look at the obvious thought and effort he puts in to the job. Look at the way he has already become the go-to man for precise, informative analysis of strikers.

Without wandering too far off topic, it’s actually something that’s been lacking for a while. We always want Alan Shearer to become that pundit but he never quite has. Searing analysis of defenders has always been readily available and we still get that from your Nevilles and your Carraghers but it seems to have been ages since we’ve had a forward who can do likewise and bring that clear been-there-done-that advantage to the role that a mere mortal cannot.

That’s what we want, and it’s not much to ask. Sturridge is both engaging and informative, but it really isn’t much to expect any former player in one of these roles to be at the very least one of the two.

Can we please have no more of Sherwood offering no insight in an unpleasant manner. And while we’re here, no, he didn’t ‘discover Harry Kane’ either. And even if he had, we’d still rather hear what Sturridge has to say about him.

READ: Daniel Sturridge is the Joey Barton-goading pundit striking the perfect balance for Sky Sports