Hollywood actor Michael Sheen has paid the Wales squad a pre-World Cup visit after his impassioned speech on television.
Sheen was asked on Sky’s sports panel show A League of Their Own earlier this month how he would give a pep talk to the Wales team at the World Cup in Qatar.
The 53-year-old’s rousing oratory left fellow panellists Jamie Redknapp, Micah Richards and England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale stunned, and the video went viral on social media, with some viewers saying Sheen’s performance was “worthy of an Oscar”.
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) September 26, 2022
The two-minute clip included a warning for World Cup rivals England, with Sheen saying: “When the English come knocking on our door, let’s give them some sugar, boys, let’s give them some Welsh sugar.”
Sheen roared that a “red storm is coming to the gates of Qatar”, and that Wales “haven’t waited 64 years and come half way around the world to be troubled by a neighbour from back home”.
Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson posted on Twitter that Sheen’s performance “sounds awesome”, while Match of the Day host Gary Lineker said it had given him “goosebumps”.
Wales manager Robert Page reacted to the speech by saying he hoped to invite Sheen to the World Cup in November.
I have no idea what this is or who he is. Some of it I have no idea what he’s even saying. But this sounds awesome! https://t.co/l8wNO8IAZb
— Michael Johnson (@MJGold) September 10, 2022
“I well up every time I watch it,” Page had said. “When I watched it, wow, (I was) very emotional.
“Personally I want to thank him for doing that. I want to let him know that I appreciate what he’s done there.
“Because we’re on the map, but he’s taken it to another level for us.”
Page said the players had messaged him immediately after the show was aired to ask Sheen to come into camp and address them.
“When you’ve got the passion to do that, we’ve got to use it to our benefit, absolutely,” Page added.
Sheen visited the Wales squad at their Vale of Glamorgan camp, where they were based for Nations League games against Belgium and Poland, and customised his TV speech to an enthralled audience.
The Port Talbot-raised actor, known for his starring roles in The Damned United and Frost/Nixon, was presented with a signed Wales shirt bearing his name and a bottle of Welsh whisky by captain Gareth Bale.
Following his speech, in which he urged the players to sense “every man, woman and child in this old land” standing with them for the national anthem at their World Cup opener against the United States on November 21, Sheen joked that he was “still available” to travel to Qatar.