Ian Wright has defended former England Lioness Eni Aluko after she received harsh criticism for a minor mistake during ITV’s coverage of Brazil vs South Korea.
Aluko chalked up over 100 England caps during her football career and has now become a prominent pundit, regularly featuring alongside Wright, Gary Neville and Roy Keane.
Being no stranger to adversity in the past, Wright has urged online trolls to “grow up” for calling out Aluko’s barely-noticeable error, suggesting the condemnation stems from sexism.
Aluko’s minor slip-up came while discussing Tottenham’s star man Richarlison, who has been in fine form at the World Cup for Brazil.
She said: “He’s the top scorer for Brazil over the last two years. He’s for a great record – 19 goals in 40 games, do the math and it’s a goal-a-game pretty much.”
Despite this being a small mistake, social media has been awash with criticism for Aluko.
One video calling out the former England forward chalked up over two million views in the last 24 hours, prompting Wright to call out the vastly out-of-proportion response.
“I’ve made countless mistakes live on air. The replies to this are horrible. You man are so pressed by women in football that you take pure pleasure in this. Grow up,” Wright said.
Wright himself has been no stranger to adversity after beginning his career on television.
As reported by the Daily Mirror, in 2008, he temporarily stepped away from his role with ITV, as he felt he was only on the show to provide comedic relief from the other hosts’ analyses.
At the time, Wright said: “I feel like I’m just there as a comedy jester to break the ice with Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen, who just do run-of-the-mill things. I can’t do that any more. People want something different.”
Familiar, undeserved criticism towards Wright’s female colleagues
Since returning to a regular role on television, he has remained one of the nation’s favourite pundits.
Recently, he has regularly featured on ITV’s match analysis of several World Cup matches.
This is not the first time Wright has had to defend a female colleague for something so innocuous at the tournament.
Earlier in the competition, fellow Gunner Laura Woods received criticism from former anchor Des Lynam for being “over-familiar” with Wright, after Woods called him “Wrighty.”
“Woods called Ian Wright ‘Wrighty’ which sounds comfortable coming from the likes of Lineker but it made me slightly wince. I may be wrong and perhaps they are close friends but the over-familiarity made me a touch uncomfortable.” Lynam wrote for the Daily Telegraph.
Wright quickly came to his friend’s defence on Twitter, posting: “How’s Des vexed that Laura called me ‘Wrighty’!!! Looking for something negative to write.”
The Arsenal legend then reaffirmed his support on air during the France vs Denmark match, after Woods refered to Wright as ‘Ian’:
“You know what Lozza, it doesn’t matter, you don’t have to call me Ian. Look, how long we’ve known each other? Call me Wrighty like you normally do,” he said.
Lynam’s bizarre comments clearly frustrated amuse Wright, especially given the other male pundits on ITV regularly refer to him by his nickname.
The fact that two harmless comments from female pundits have been met with widespread online abuse and by some journalists is frankly ridiculous.
It’s great to see Ian Wright call out the critics, whose comments show the ongoing problem with sexism in football.
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