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Jeff Stelling considers quitting Soccer Saturday following the sacking of long-serving pundits

Jeff Stelling is considering quitting as presenter of Sky Sports’ flagship Soccer Saturday programme, disillusioned by the surprise sacking of long-serving pundits Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas earlier this week.

Stelling, 65, described the sudden dismissal of the trio on Tuesday as one of the saddest days of his career and it is understood it has given him cause to reflect on his own future after 25 years presenting the popular show.

Stelling was stunned to be told of Sky’s decision to axe the Soccer Saturday veterans, which came out of the blue as all three had one year left on their contracts.

Le Tissier, Thompson and Nicholas are the second regular punditry team with whom Stelling has worked after the original line-up of George Best, Rodney Marsh and Clive Allen was dismantled by Sky and the popular presenter is weighing up whether he has the appetite to attempt to forge a similarly strong working relationship with a new team.

Paul Merson has been retained by Sky to work on Soccer Saturday and his position is unclear.

Stelling’s contract is understood to contain a lengthy notice period so he may start the season presenting the show unless he reaches an agreement with Sky Sports.

The decision to break up the punditry team is all the more surprising as it comes just two weeks before the start of the new season and without any replacements in place.

While Sky have yet to line up any new pundits, they are conscious of the need to increase diversity among their roster.

Micah Richards and Alex Scott have emerged as rising stars of the punditry world over the past few years, while Sportsmail has learned that talkSPORT presenter Laura Woods has been earmarked to become the face of Sky’s Carabao Cup coverage after impressing when presenting several matches last season.

There was another notable departure from Sky yesterday when Scott Minto, the former Chelsea and West Ham defender who has presented coverage of the EFL, Spanish football and the Carabao Cup, was dismissed after 13 years with the broadcaster.

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