A series of quotes on the part of Scotland star Stephen O’Donnell have gone viral across social media on Sunday, after the stopper provided an insight into his efforts to deal with England’s Jack Grealish.
O’Donnell and co. made the trip to Wembley on Friday night, for a crucial Euro 2020 outing.
The Tartan Army headed into proceedings desperate to avoid a 2nd-straight defeat, after being put to the sword by the Czech Republic in the nation’s Group D opener.
And, when all was said and done in London, avoid defeat is precisely what Scotland managed.
A hard-fought 90 minutes eventually saw the Scots secure a deserved share of the spoils, courtesy of an inspired defensive display.
John Stones did go close to putting England in front early on, but, from here on out, the visitors stood tall, to hold the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane firmly in check.
‘The best way to get at Grealish’
England’s efforts to notch an all-important winner 48 hours ago understandably saw Gareth Southgate, early in the 2nd-half, opt to introduce Jack Grealish to the fray, in a bid to inject some much-needed creativity into his side’s ranks.
Even the Aston Villa star, one of the Premier League’s most creative performers, though, saw his attempts to influence proceedings prove fruitless.
The man tasked with keeping Grealish at bay during his half hour on the pitch on Friday was Scotland’s Stephen O’Donnell, with the stopper having been widely praised for his showing in the game’s aftermath.
Romania’s Vlad Chiriches (left) and England’s Jack Grealish battle for the ball during the international friendly match at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Picture date: Sunday June 6, 2021. (Photo by Lee Smith/PA Images via Getty Images)
And, as outlined above, over the weekend, the Motherwell man has provided an insight into precisely how he dealt with the threat posed by Grealish.
Speaking in an interview with his nation’s official YouTube channel, O’Donnell cited advice given to him by the England midfielder’s Aston Villa teammate John McGinn, to essentially kill Grealish with kindness:
‘By that stage of the game I was starting to get a wee bit fed up’, the Scot explained regarding a heavy challenge left on Grealish soon after his introduction. ‘He was starting to play, he had just come on and was nice and fresh.’
‘Normally, fresh wingers come on and you feel a bit tired. I just thought: ‘I am going to need to hit him here.’ I was fed up of him trying to take the mickey out of me. I gave him a wee hit.’
‘Thankfully, John McGinn had given me some tips. He told me that if he comes on I need to get nibbling in his ear but don’t be critical, be complimentary. So the second he came on I was telling him how good looking he was, that I loved his calves and asking him how he got his hair to look like that. I was told if you kick him or get him really hard he gets back up and at you. Maybe that was the best way to get at Jack Grealish the other night.’