Phil McNulty

Chief football writer, BBC Sport

Analysis and opinion from our chief football writer

About Phil

Phil has covered football on regional and national newspapers since... Read more about Phil McNulty the late 80s and has been BBC Sport's Chief Football Writer since July 2000.

He has covered World Cups for the BBC in Japan and South Korea, Germany and South Africa as well as European Championships in Portugal and Poland and Ukraine.

Born in Liverpool, Phil attended De La Salle Grammar School which later had England striker Wayne Rooney as its most famous ex-pupil.

Phil's main brief is covering the Premier League, England and the Champions League and he can also be heard giving his analysis on BBC Radio 5 live, Radio Four and the World Service.

He was recently included in the UK Press Gazette's list of the top 50 UK sports journalists.

Mario Balotelli was substituted at half time against Real Madrid for Liverpool

Liverpool face Balotelli conundrum

Read full article on Mario Balotelli: Real Madrid shirt swap is least of Liverpool's worries

Liverpool's rich European history was no shield against the chill blast of Champions League reality as holders Real Madrid rode into Anfield and left them badly beaten and embarrassed.

The strains of "You'll Never Walk Alone" swirled around Anfield long after the music stopped in an attempt to create the atmosphere that has been the catalyst for so many European glory nights - but once the final note of the old anthem faded away it was all downhill at an alarming rate.

Is Rooney world class or a worry?

Read full article on Wayne Rooney: Is England striker world class or a worry?

Mark in Durham, on 6-0-6 on BBC Radio 5 live after England's 1-0 win over Estonia:

"Wayne Rooney is not worth his place in the starting line-up. People talk about him in the same breath as someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, but that miss tonight in the 93rd minute could have cost us a goal that could cost us qualification. Rooney's confidence is shot. He's trying to be the best man around, but he's playing the worst of anybody. If Roy Hodgson's picking a team of players in form then Wayne Rooney should not be in the team. He scored the winning goal, but that's all he's done in two games."

'Lightweight opponents pose problem'

Read full article on England: Lightweight opponents pose problem for Hodgson

Another game against San Marino and another embarrassingly easy England win - five meetings with the lowest-ranked team in world football and a not unflattering aggregate of 31-1.

There were no surprises as England won 5-0 at Wembley, as they did when this fixture was a World Cup qualifier in October 2012. Move forward to these Euro 2016 qualifying games and the story is the same.

'Easy' games pose England challenges

Read full article on England: San Marino & Estonia qualifiers offer challenges

England's opening Euro 2016 qualifier win against Switzerland in Basel has been portrayed as the result that effectively opened up manager Roy Hodgson's route to France.

The visit to Switzerland was the most hazardous journey in a kind draw that also put England in with San Marino, Estonia, Slovenia and Lithuania - and the victory cleared some heads after the trauma of the failed World Cup campaign in Brazil.

Mourinho and Wenger bust-up and Man Utd fourth

Read full article on Premier League: Mourinho and Wenger square-up, Man Utd fourth

The technical area spat between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger will claim the spotlight this weekend.

But of more significance to those inside Stamford Bridge will be the Blues' five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Man City lack Champions League belief

Read full article on Manchester City's Champions League struggles remain a mystery

Manchester City's acquaintance with the Champions League continues to be uncomfortable - for the fourth time in succession they failed to win their opening home group game as they were held by Roma.

City are not yet up against it in Group E but a meagre return of a single point from their opening two games, a defeat by Bayern Munich in Germany and Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium, provides evidence of the difficulty of both the club's transition to Europe's elite tournament and the task ahead.

Is pressure of captaincy getting to Rooney?

Read full article on Premier League talking points: Wayne Rooney & a two-horse race

Wayne Rooney's red card for Manchester United will claim the headlines from an eventful Saturday in the Premier League.

The United and England captain must now serve a three-game ban - but the good news for manager Louis van Gaal is that his 10 men held on for a crucial win against West Ham United to ease some of the wounds from the 5-3 collapse to Leicester City.

The latest great managerial rivalry?

Read full article on Jose Mourinho & Manuel Pellegrini: The latest great rivalry?

Manchester City's meeting with Chelsea at Etihad Stadium was a collision of the Premier League's two current superpowers.

The game ended with honours even between the two teams likely to be contesting the title when it reaches its decisive stage, and the 1-1 draw gave both City manager Manuel Pellegrini and Chelsea's Jose Mourinho an indication as to how their seasons may unfold.

Wayward Welbeck and a raging Pellegrini

Read full article on Arsenal v Man City: Wayward Welbeck and a raging Pellegrini

Arsenal's draw with Manchester City at Emirates Stadium will have brought both pleasure and frustration to Arsene Wenger and Manuel Pellegrini.

Gunners' boss Wenger was left regretting the failure to hold on for victory while City counterpart Pellegrini saw his side concede a lead before rescuing a point - while also nursing a very obvious sense of injustice over a series of decisions from referee Mark Clattenburg.

Sweet Swiss solace for Hodgson

Read full article on England coach Roy Hodgson finds sweet solace in Switzerland

England manager Roy Hodgson and his players finally enjoyed that winning feeling once more after a winless World Cup in Brazil as the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign started with victory in Switzerland.

It was suggested, not in jest, after this 2-0 win that England have effectively qualified for France with nine games still to play after negotiating what was regarded as the most dangerous game in a favourable group that also contains San Marino, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia.