Dan Walker defended Alex Scott for ‘working 10 times harder’ before Football Focus row

Dan Walker announces he’s leaving Football Focus

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The BBC Breakfast star, 44, recently announced he will be stepping down from Football Focus at the end of this season. Among those who could replace him is Alex Scott, a former England women’s national and Arsenal footballer. Since the sportswoman was linked to the role, a number of fuming fans took to Twitter.

Many of the verbal attacks have been deemed sexist and unfair, including one that claimed Scott was unfit for the role.

This came in spite of her scoring 12 goals in 140 appearances for England’s Lionesses and an impressive broadcasting career away from playing football.

Some came to the defence, including one user who claimed they “love the thought of her boiling p*** towards some men still living in the 20th Century”.

One person, who believed Scott would “be great” on the show, tweeted their “favourite criticism” was that “she didn’t play at the highest level”.

The individual continued: “As if Dan Walker took off his shin pads after his last England hat-trick and walked straight to the studios.”

Fellow football pundit Gary Lineker took to Twitter to wish Scott “congratulations and good luck” for the role before retracting his post.

In a separate tweet, he said he “may have jumped in prematurely” with his well-wishes because “nothing” was “official yet”. 

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Lineker was cautious after falling foul of a similar rumour last September, when Scott was linked to the top job on A Question Of Sport.

Walker admitted he “loved every single second” of his 12 years on Football Focus, when he announced his departure on Twitter earlier this month. 

In a video, which he shared on April 8, he explained that he would “miss the magic of the programme”.

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After the backlash following Scott’s being linked to his old job, Walker took to Twitter again to call out the hypocrisy in their different treatment. 

It followed one tweet that read: “I’m not sure why women footballers comment on the men’s game, they have [their] own game and shows.”

Today, Walker wrote: “I once scored a hat-trick for Three Bridges Middle School… and in the early 1990s, I picked up the coveted ‘Most Improved Player’ at a half-term football camp.”

This isn’t the first time he has leapt to the defence of Scott.

Walker called out a Twitter user who argued against having Scott as part of a 2018 FIFA World Cup pundit line-up.

They claimed to feature her was “like getting netball players to comment on major league basketball”.

Walker fired back: “Alex Scott has been great at the World Cup.”

He noted that she did “her research, knows the game, communicates it well” and was “a pleasure to work with”.

Zoe Ball congratulates Alex Scott for Football Focus role

Walker continued to lambast those who believe Scott was chosen to make the show more representative of modern-day Britain.

He wrote: “Because of this sort of stuff [she] has to work 10 times harder to be accepted.”

Walker signed off the tweet with a thumbs-up emoji and the words: “It’s not tokenism, the landscape is changing… for the better.”

The post was broadcast to the BBC star’s fans, now more than 700,000 followers, and was liked by more than 7,600 people and retweeted 1,000 times. 

After Scott opened up about her time with the Lionesses and admitted she “re-lived every moment again” while watching England’s men’s team.

She claimed to have felt the same “frustration” as them and “just being sad” when in the same “position” during her footballing career. 

Scott was attacked online by someone who insisted her “highlight” wasn’t as impressive as other feats in the sport.

The individual, who signed off the tweet #agenda, downplayed “the Lionesses finishing fourth” in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Scott wrote: “To see them get to a semi-final of a WC (World Cup), have 11m (million) tune in to cheer the @Lionesses on was a MASSIVE moment.

“Yes, no trophy but huge strides made.” 

Walker called out Scott’s detractor by stating it “was HER highlight” he “asked for… not yours” – in reference to the Twitter user. 

Dan Walker stars in Football Focus, which next airs at 12pm Saturday on BBC One.

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