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Scotland's Stephen O'Donnell has revealed the bizarre tactics he used to unsettle England's Jack Grealish: complimenting his good looks, muscular calves and lovely hair mid-match.
Grealish was brought on in the 63rd minute of England's 0-0 draw with Scotland at Wembley on Friday and was up against O'Donnell. The Motherwell right-back was booked for fouling Grealish, but had a secret weapon he was using against the England ace.
The defender has revealed that John McGinn, Grealish's teammate at Aston Villa, told O'Donnell that he needed to be in Grealish's ear - but that negative trash talk would only fire him up. So O'Donnell broke out his finest flattery and showered Grealish with compliments.
The honey-tongued devil opened up on his cunning plan an episode of Scotland HQ Live, when he revealed how the booking came about and what followed after that.
"I was just getting a wee bit fed up at that stage of the game, he'd just come on, he was nice and fresh," said O'Donnell, per Sportsmail.
"Normally when the fresh wingers come on that's when you're a bit tired so I thought, 'I just need to hit him here', because I was getting fed up of him trying to take the mick out of me, so I gave him a wee hit.
"Thankfully John McGinn had given me some tips. He said if he [Grealish] 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 love his calves and asking him how he got his hair to look like that.
"He [McGinn] said if you tell him he's hopeless or kick him really, really hard, he gets up and gives it back at you. Maybe that was the advantage over Jack Grealish the other night.
Stephen O'Donnell revealed what went on between him and Jack Grealish on this morning's #ScotlandHQ - and the tips he'd been given from John McGinn... :joy:- Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) June 20, 2021
:arrow_right: Catch up on the full episode here: https://t.co/UllsrqDI2E pic.twitter.com/OlQLksc6ZM
After having a tough time versus the Czech Republic, O'Donnell had an excellent game against England as he coped well with Phil Foden and then his replacement Grealish. All while he showered praise on Grealish's handsome face and lustrous hair. Impressive.
Grealish won four free-kicks against Scotland, the most of any player on the night, but was unable to really lift a blunt and stodgy England side.
:joy::joy:- Stefan (@MrStefanCarlin) June 20, 2021
"I was telling him how good looking he was, and I loved his calves. https://t.co/bck8HR9rS7
So perhaps the crafty complimenting strategy worked all along.
If, next season, we see the likes of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee gushing praise over Grealish's chiselled jaw or rock-hard abs, we know O'Donnell's tactic has taken off.
All imagery: PA Images
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