After David Walsh questioned the quality of the BBC’s analysis of the FA Cup clash between West Ham United and Manchester City in his column in The Sunday Times, Eamon Dunphy took aim at his fellow analysts across the Irish Sea, labelling them “hopeless”.

Commending Walsh on his piece, Dunphy told listeners of RTÉ 2fm’s Game On programme: “It’s very rare for someone to call them out the way David did.

“They’re really hopeless.

“Some of them are good - Souness is excellent. Gary Neville, I think, is very good.

“Ian Wright is very good when he puts his mind to it, but they’re not encouraged to really put their minds to it and really be rigorous and robust, which is what you need and what you should expect.

“They’re hopeless.

“I don’t like to say it, but you have to have a commitment to the audience and that’s what’s missing in England. And, also, you have to engage people as analysts who know their stuff. You have to know the game when you’re on live television and giving analysis, you have to actually know it.”

“What really baffles me is what the television companies are thinking about”

Dunphy believes that British broadcasters are short-changing viewers.

“What really baffles me is what the television companies are thinking about,” he added.  

“BT Sport, for example, have invested about £2bn in rights and then they get David James and Rio Ferdinand.

“They don’t respect their audience. That’s really what bugs me.”

Reflecting on the Cup itself, Dunphy lamented the fall from grace of what was once a jewel in the crown of English sport.

"The desire to get there and the importance of a FA Cup run is diminished almost entirely"

“It’s dead,” Dunphy opined.  

“Long after I was playing, it had some cachet and prestige.

“If you get to the final of course, you go to Wembley it’s great.

“But the desire to get there and the importance of a FA Cup run is diminished almost entirely.

“Even teams lower down the Premier League table would be conscious that they might get injuries that would affect their chances of staying in the league.”

Turning his attention towards the prospect of a 48-team World Cup in 2026, the former Republic of Ireland international was more alarmed by the motives for and fallout from such a change, rather than impact it would actually have on the competition.

“When I first heard there was going to be 48 teams, I was horrified,” he said.

“And then I saw a sympathetic piece which suggested there was going to be fewer meaningless games and more of the games would have meaning.”

While an expansion of the World Cup is expected to lead to a broadcasting rights bonanza for the game’s governing body, Dunphy has queried the sustainability of such a move.

“This is for television, it’s to make more money for FIFA,” he said.  

“It will make more money for the associations, and of course the small countries will get a piece of that particular pie, but in the process they’ll damage the domestic game in these countries because the players will be tired.

“They’re asking far too much of players at the moment."