BBC backs Philip Neville despite hundreds of complaints about his World Cup commentary

Hundreds of viewers have complained about Phil Neville’s commentary on the World Cup game between England and Italy.

Neville, a former England international whose career included stints at Manchester United and Everton, was criticised for his lack of emotion and ‘monotone’ style during the game.

Many viewers took to Twitter to criticise him, with several joking that England physio Gary Lewin who was stretchered off after injuring his ankle had actually ‘fallen into a coma’ listening to Neville

A BBC spokeswoman said there were 445 complaints after Saturday night’s game, which pulled in a peak audience of 15.6 million viewers.

Neville took to Twitter to respond, saying: “1st live co-comm last night – sometimes u have to take the criticism – it will only make me better- thanks for the feedback (ahhahaha)!”

Fellow broadcaster Danny Baker was among his critics, but said the BBC should share the blame.

He said: “Phil Neville has acknowledged he wasn’t great during England commentary. But what were the BBC doing giving him THAT game to ‘learn his craft’?”

The BBC said Neville, who has received broadcasting training, was ‘an important, well-respected member of our team’ and would ‘continue to play a key role throughout the tournament’.

His next appearance is expected to be as a studio guest for tonight’s game between Iran and Nigeria.