Lineker uses Spanish on MOTD

“Match of the Day” featured two Spanish-speaking English footballers on Saturday, which was an unexpected treat! First Dean Austin, the Watford Assistant Coach was shown and we were told that his Spanish skills are helping communication in the Watford dressing room, then Gary Lineker complimented Tottenham coach, Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino, on the performance of his team in Spanish.

Dean Austin can speak Spanish, too

Most football fans probably already know that Gary Lineker speaks good Spanish.  During his three seasons at Barcelona, during which he won the Copa del Rey and the European Cup Winners’ Cup, he made a concerted effort to learn the language, and has in the past presented a Spanish “Partido del Día” for BBC Speaking Sport. However, many fans may not know the name of Dean Austin, much less that he speaks Spanish too.

The former Spurs and Crystal Palace player credits former Watford Manager Brendan Rodgers with encouraging him to learn Spanish. It helps him to communicate with the increasing numbers of coaching colleagues and players who are Spanish speakers.

Austin also has a restaurant business in Spain, however the main reason he learned Spanish is because “the way football has gone in the last ten years, languages have become more important”. He does not claim to be fluent, but says “I try hard like I was as a player – I was a trier.”

And how’s Gary Neville getting on?

Meanwhile, in Spain, results are not going well for Gary Neville at Valencia, with no wins in his first nine league games. He may not be given enough time as the Valencia Head Coach to fulfil his promise to learn to speak Spanish. A return to the UK may be on the cards, earlier than he hoped.

Still, if Dean Austin’s experience is anything to go by, any time Neville has been able to spend learning Spanish will still be useful for a coaching career in the Premier League. Or if he ends up as a pundit, at least he can “do a Lineker” and use his Spanish skills when interviewing Spanish-speaking coaches!