Lineker’s ‘controversial’ FA Cup suggestion as he praises Man Utd teenager

The Three Lions legend believes the competition is showing its age by forcing teams to play each other twice if games end level the first time

Former England international Gary Lineker has called on the FA Cup to abandon replays in an attempt to give smaller sides a greater chance of progression while also ease fixture congestion.

Lineker, who won the competition in 1991 with Tottenham, made the suggestion on social media after watching Manchester United and Wolves play a replay of their third round FA Cup clash on Wednesday.

After a goalless draw earlier in the month, the two sides could only be separated the second time around thanks to a superb strike from Red Devils midfielder Juan Mata.

The result was however spoiled somewhat by an injury to substitute Marcus Rashford, with the United attacker now a major doubt for the club’s upcoming clash against Premier League leaders Liverpool.

That injury and the lacklustre nature of both games between the two sides left Lineker to suggest the FA Cup should consider a major change.

“Bit controversial, but I’d get rid of replays in the FA Cup,” Lineker wrote on Twitter. “90 minutes only, no extra time, penalties if a draw.

“It’s a thing from a bygone age. Would give smaller teams a greater chance of going through. We’re the only country that has them. Just a thought.”

While questioning the relevance of the replay, the match saw Red Devils teenager defender Brandon Williams once again given a chance to impress as he started at left-back with Lineker liking what he’s seeing from the 19-year-old.

“The more I watch Brandon Williams, the more I like what I see,” Lineker said on Twitter. “Another exciting young English talent.”

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One aspect of the match Lineker didn’t like so much was the decision to disallow a Wolves goal for handball.

Lineker tweeting: “Wolves goal disallowed. The new handball law is utterly absurd, exacerbated by the existence of VAR that has no choice but to pick out every flick of a knuckle.”

Manchester United’s narrow 1-0 win in the replay means they’ll play either Watford or Tranmere in the next round with that particular replay delayed due to a waterlogged pitch that has seen the game postponed to next week.