Gary Lineker returns to BBC television but viewers say "he needs another week off"

Gary Lineker has returned to BBC television for the first time since the impartiality row and it was Alan Shearer who made a statement about the controversy, with the host appearing to struggle with his throat.

The ex-Newcastle striker said at the start of the programme: “I wanted to say how upset we were that all the audiences missed out on last weekend. It was a really difficult situation for everyone concerned and through no fault of their own some really great people in TV and radio were put in an impossible situation.”

Lineker was presenting the FA Cup tie between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium, his first assignment since he was pulled from Match of the Day last week for his critical comments about the government’s new migrant policy.

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Lineker had compared the language that the Tories used to language that was common during 1930s Germany. The criticism created headlines for weeks with a number of cabinet ministers calling them offensive.

The BBC then made the decision to pull the 62-year-old from presenting Match of the Day last week which sparked a huge act of solidarity amongst BBC Sport staff which saw all sports coverage for that weekend cancelled.

The situation was resolved on Monday with the BBC allowing Lineker to return to television, with Lineker writing that it had been a “surreal few days” but he and the broadcaster had “navigated a way for him to return.”

He also used the statement to once again highlight the struggles that migrants have to endure writing: “However difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away.”

Viewers at the start of the program noticed that although Lineker avoided making any sort of quip or statement, he was struggling with what appeared to be a bad throat.

One person wrote: “Lineker sounding a bit croaky there.”

Another said: “It’s pretty ironic that Lineker is back on our televisions after getting into trouble for having his voice heard…and he’s losing his voice! He sounds rough as a badger’s nether regions, bless him!”

A third said: “Lineker sounds so ill man, no way he wasn’t hosting this though. Fair play to the man.”

A fourth added: “Sounds like Lineker could’ve done with another week off.”

Lineker had teased his return to television throughout Saturday, first stating that he was “back to the Saturday job.” He then followed it up with a selfie of himself at the Etihad, adding: “Ah the joys of being allowed to stick to football.”

Lineker was joined by Alan Shearer and Micah Richards in the studio for the game between Man City and Burnley, which saw the Clarets manager, Vincent Kompany return to the club where he made his name as a player winning four Premier League titles and making more than 300 appearances.

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