Page last updated at 01:05 GMT, Sunday, 18 April 2010 02:05 UK

Gary Lineker makes Match of the Day with 24-hour trip

Gary Lineker and wife Danielle
Lineker had been on holiday with his wife and their children

Presenter Gary Lineker made the Match of the Day line-up on Saturday night - but only after enduring a near 24-hour journey from Tenerife to London.

Lineker, who was on holiday with his family when the Icelandic volcanic ash closed UK airspace, arrived back with only about two hours to spare.

He had flown to Madrid, driven to Paris and caught a Eurostar train to London.

Opening the BBC One highlights show, the ex-footballer said some fixtures were worth going the "extra mile" for.

He said: "Every now and then Match of the Day throws up a bunch of fixtures so enticing that you would go the extra mile to ensure you didn't miss it, and trust me that is certainly the case this week."

'Sleep for England'

On a day that featured the Manchester derby and a London derby between Spurs and Chelsea, he added: "We have games of volcanic proportions."

The former England striker told the Mail on Sunday it was the first time he had presented a show having missed watching all the afternoon games, but the important thing was he had made it.

"It was like one of those impossible challenges they have on Top Gear," he said.

"I didn't have much chance to shut my eyes properly before the show - but I am going to sleep for England on Sunday."

Lineker said his wife Danielle, her daughter Ella, eight, and his sons George, 18, Harry, 17, Tobias, 14, and Alex, 12, had "kept each other going" during the 2,050-mile (3,311 km) journey by singing songs.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "He did dash back and he got there. It was a very commendable effort to get himself on air."

Presenter Clare Balding had also driven back from Switzerland to present Saturday's Super League rugby and sports commentator Jonathan Pearce had driven back from France, she added.



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