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Saturday 3 December 2016

Captain Emma, bad boy Barton join TV3 pundits

Emma Byrne
Emma Byrne

Irish women's soccer captain Emma Byrne and football bad boy Joey Barton have been signed up as pundits for TV3's coverage of next month's European Championship finals in France.

Arsenal goalkeeper Emma is the only woman on the panel of experts who will provide commentary and analysis during Euro 2016.

Emma, from Leixlip, is based in Hertfordshire, where she lives with her husband, former footballer Marcus Bignot.

TV3 managing director Pat Kiely said he was over the moon to have her on board.

"I'm particularly happy to welcome Republic of Ireland women's team captain Emma Byrne, the first female footballer to join the ranks," he said.

Controversy

"Emma's credentials speak for themselves and we look forward to her input throughout the tournament."

Outspoken Burnley midfielder Barton is sure to stir things up with his forthright views on football - and anything else that takes his fancy.

The 33-year-old regularly lands himself in hot water for his opinions on Twitter.

Barton previously described Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar as "the Justin Bieber of football".

"Brilliant on YouTube. Catp*** in reality," he said.

He has also attacked English-born footballers who play for Ireland.

Barton previously hit out at former Irish international Matt Holland following what he believed was a slur against him on Holland's TalkSport radio show.

"If you're English, you play for England," he wrote on social media.

"If you're English and you pretend your Irish grandparentage matters to you and you play for Ireland and I'm not good enough to play for the country I'm from, bore off.

"Play for the country you're from. If you're not good enough, like me, work harder.

"Forget my grandparents, I'm not Irish."

Emma (36) may be busier than ever this summer, but she has admitted that she would have no problem hanging up her boots to start a family.

"We'd like children, and it is something we've talked about, but it's so hard because I know if we did it would be the end of my footballing career," she said. "If we do decide we're going to try for children, I'll have to retire and that's really hard for me to do - and getting harder."

However, Emma was quick to add that she has no plans to call it a day any time soon.

Conscious

"I've always intended to play on as long as a I can, but I'm very conscious of how much time I have left and I desperately want to qualify for a championships," she said.

Joining Emma and Barton on the TV3 pundits' panel will be regulars Graeme Souness, Neil Lennon, Harry Redknapp and Kevin Kilbane.

Other new additions include Keith Andrews, Gerry Armstrong and Lawrie Sanchez.

TV3 will broadcast 22 of the 51 Euro 2016 matches in France, beginning on June 10.

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