Scotland defender Stephen O’Donnell has revealed how he put England’s Jack Grealish off his game during their Euro 2020 clash by telling the midfielder that he “loved his calves”.
O’Donnell, who played at right back during Scotland’s 0-0 draw at Wembley on Friday night, said he was given tips on how to keep Grealish quiet by the Aston Villa player’s club-mate, John McGinn.
Motherwell’s O’Donnell was given a yellow card near the end of the match for a foul on Grealish after pressing him into his own half.
Speaking on Scotland HQ, the national team podcast, O’Donnell said he was told he should compliment Grealish in order to gain an advantage over him.
He said: “I was just getting a wee bit fed up. At that stage of the game, he’d just come on and he was nice and fresh and normally, when the fresh wingers come on, that’s you a bit tired, so (I thought), ‘I just need to hit him here, because I’m getting fed up of him trying to take the mick out of me’.
“So, I gave him a wee hit. Thankfully, John McGinn had been giving me some tips. He said, ‘if he comes on, you need to be nibbling in his ear, but don’t be critical, be complimentary’.
“So, the full time he was on, I was telling him how good looking he was, and I loved his calves, and asking him how he got his hair to look like that.”
O’Donnell added: “He (McGinn) said if you tell him… he’s hopeless or 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.”