Scotland’s Stephen O’Donnell takes John McGinn’s advice on how to wind up England’s Jack Grealish, and it is everything you could love.
Following a performance which got him slammed by fans against Czech Republic last week, O’Donnell has further endeared himself to supporters following his performance in the 0-0 draw with England.
The Motherwell ace was defended by manager Steve Clarke in the build-up to the match at Wembley and he put in a stirring display which saw him nearly score with a volley.
O’Donnell picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Jack Grealish, but it was what was said between the tow of them that has got people talking.
🏴 🏴 Could the annual Scotland v England skirmish be revived? And how much fun would that be?
— Scotsman Sport (@ScotsmanSport) June 20, 2021
“I think I was just starting to get a wee bit fed up,” he told Scotland HQ.
“He had just come on and normally when the fresh wingers come on and you’re a wee bit tired you’re just thinking, ‘I need to hit him here’.
O’Donnell revealed he took some advice from team-mate John McGinn as to how to get in the midfielder’s head.
Grealish is a team-mate of McGinn’s at Aston Villa and it provided some amusing anecdotes from his meeting with O’Donnell during the clash at Wembley which gave Scotland’s chances of qualification a huge boost.
“He said if (Grealish) comes on I had to get nibbling in his ear,” O’Donnelly said. “But don’t be critical, be complimentary. So the full time he was on I was telling him how good looking he was and that I loved his calves!
“I was asking him how he get his hair like that. John said that if you tell him he was hopeless or to kick him really, really hard he gets up and gets back at you.
“So maybe that was the advantage against Jack Grealish the other night.
“I also noticed he doesn’t shave his calves. Most boys shave their legs as it’s good for the masseurs but Jack’s got massive calves and he doesn’t shave them.
“So I said to him they must be so big the fact that he doesn’t shave them and they still get spoken about!”
Scotland know they could secure qualification from the group with a win over Croatia on Tuesday.
“Croatia have good attributes, different attributes to England,” said Steve Clarke. “They are a good team who move the ball well. We will have to defend well again and find a way to play through midfield. They have two really top players in midfield in [Mateo] Kovacic and [Luka] Modric; we need to deal with that.
“If we get everybody on the pitch that we want to get on the pitch and they all produce eight out of 10 performances, then you would hope that would be good enough to get us the win we need to get out of the group stages.”
Grant Hanley, who was a key factor in the struggles of Harry Kane, emphasised the mood of his squad. “We want to finish the job now and not waste what we did on Friday night,” said the Norwich player. “Nothing has changed since day one when the tournament started. The objective and the goal is the same and we’ve given ourselves a chance.”
Steve Clarke praised Billy Gilmour after the midfielder was named man of the match after the 0-0 draw with England – but suggested the award went to the wrong player.
Asked about Gilmour’s performance, Clarke answered: “I thought Stephen O’Donnell was exceptional,” he said. “And Billy was just behind him. It was nice for Billy to get that start – big platform, big stage, big player. We’ve said for a long time he was part of the future of Scottish football. We know what we’ve got in the camp and we will try to manage him properly and keep a lid on things. Performances like that will do him no harm whatsoever.”
“I don’t think there is any risk when you have somebody of Billy Gilmour’s talent,” he said. “When you put him on the pitch you expect him to do what he did. He held the ball for us and allowed us to play through the midfield. I didn’t think it was a risk for the balance of the rest of the team. We were ready to support Billy in his role and I think we did that.”
Clarke denied that the criticism following Monday’s 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic was a particularly motivating factor.
“Nope,” he said. “The motivating factor was to get something out of the game so we could go into the last game with a chance of qualifying out of the group.”
Fans reacted as Stephen O’Donnell takes John McGinn’s advice on how to wind up Jack Grealish…
This made me chuckle 😂
— Clinton🇿🇦Erasmus🇩🇰 (@Clinton_Erasmus) June 20, 2021
@cbawitheverton: Am I the only one who thought Scotland were average and it was just England who were below par? On another day would have been 3-0 especially if our first half chances went in
@SJ_AV81: To be fair this is pretty funny
@HolteWarrior: O’Donnell had the game of his life. Against Czech Republic he was woeful. If Jack had started, I don’t think he gives this interview though.
@Jannetts_: He had the game of his career tbf. Played really well. All the while the Sterling national team couldn’t figure out how to pass to anyone else 😳😂
@JackChrisJones: If someone did this to me, it would just make me feel better about myself and more than likely play with more confidence? 😂
@BenWardrop74: To, Stephen ODonnell, Sorry, From Everyone x
@Beverley1886: Ha ha brilliant
@paulmackay73: Thought he was superb the other night. Under real pressure he produced the performance of his career. Fair play. Couldn’t be happier for him
@SteveBanyie: Brilliant shithousery 🤭😁
@ascotinlondon: Top quality
@DannyKleinman__: O’Donnell clattering Grealish for dancing on the half way line is sheer class
@kieran_hurley: approach every day with the energy of Stephen O’Donnell asking Jack Grealish how he gets his hair like that
@ChrisSmith521: Football shithousary ❤️ the kids today don’t get it. 🥲
@robbolufc: Look fair play to Scotland they done a decent job but let’s be honest they played out their skin for 90 minutes against a very poor England team on the night yet still couldn’t beat us when in reality they needed a win
@richardboxy: Imagine @VinnieJones65 saying something like that to Gazza??? Fucking embarrassing!
@nigeldennelly: Looks like McGinn currently has the Villa midfield bragging rights. To be fair him & Gilmour were excellent in the Jocks midfield.