Former Manchester United champion Patrice Evra has caused a sexism storm after applauding a women’s football star for her analysis on British television.
The Frenchman Evra, former Sweden player Henrik Larsson and England international Eni Aluko appeared on an ITV panel on Sunday to discuss the upcoming matches, including Costa Rica’s clash with Serbia.
Aluko, a 31-year-old forward who recently moved to Juventus and previously played for Chelsea, analysed Costa Rica’s chances of progressing from the World Cup group stage in Russia.
Referring to the Central American nation’s form since the 2014 tournament, Aluko impressed Larsson and Evra – and that’s when disaster struck.
“That’s very good,” Larsson said.
Host Jacqui Oatley replied: “Oh, it’s good, isn’t it? She’s good.”
As Aluko, who has earned 102 England caps, took the compliment in her stride – “thanks guys, thanks,” she said – Evra began clapping.
“Are you going to sit here applauding Eni’s punditry all day?” Oatley asked.
Evra continued: “This is just amazing. I think we should leave, Henrik, because she knows about more football than us! I’m really impressed, you know.”
Social media erupted with complaints about the pair’s comments.
ITV should not ditch Patrice Evra for being "sexist and patronising" towards Eni Aluko today. They should ditch him for basically admitting he hadn't done his research as well as she had. You can't just turn up in a fancy waistcoat and expect it all on a plate.
— Ian Hyland (@HylandIan) June 17, 2018
Would Patrice Evra have applauded a male pundit if they had displayed an obvious knowledge of the Costa Rica v Serbia match as Eni Aluko has done. I think not – sexist and patronising. It is obvious that Aluko had done her homework unlike Evra
— DaveW (@BlueBeerHunter) June 17, 2018
Proper watch-through-your-hands stuff on ITV – Evra’s sexist patronising surprise that Eni Aluko – a woman! – knows quite a lot about football 😱 someone have a word.
— Alexander Smith (@AlexanderSmith) June 17, 2018
Patrice Evra and Henrik Larsson clapping and praising Eni Aluko whenever she makes a standard pundit contribution on @itvfootball is very uncomfortable here.
— Joe Bray (@_joebray) June 17, 2018
Patrice Evra showing surprise and actually *clapping* Eni Aluko’s analysis… awful, patronising
— Omar Chaudhuri (@OmarChaudhuri) June 17, 2018
Very odd moment seeing Patrice Evra literally applauding Eni Aluko for her punditry. Bizarre. Can you imagine if he had done that to Roy Keane? #WorldCup2018
— Mark Simpson (@MarkSimpsonHUFC) June 17, 2018
Just seen the clip of Evra *applauding* Eni Aluko’s punditry. Shouldn’t be used by ITV again.
— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) June 17, 2018
The Guardian reports ITV has had a word to Evra to ensure he is more respectful on future broadcasts.
“It is thought Aluko and Evra seemed to be getting along well afterwards,” the English newspaper wrote.
“The four went directly to another room to record the ITV World Cup podcast in which they interacted frequently including recording a one-on-one segment.
“It is understood Evra pointed out that he meant the clapping to be a compliment but that it was taken the wrong way.”
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The situation echoed recent comments by Aluko, who first appeared on a football program in 2014.
“I think it gets massively forgotten with women commentators and pundits that we grew up watching men’s football,” said.
“There’s a tendency for some male pundits who have done it for years to rock up and take it for granted.
“I can’t afford to do that so that’s why I have to geek out on all the stats and facts and make sure I am not seen as a token woman but that I’m adding to the conversation.”
Serbia won 1-0 thanks to a stunning free kick as Aluko’s concerns over Costa Rica’s attack held true.