WALES manager Rob Page says he would love to take Newport-born actor Michael Sheen to the World Cup in Qatar after the star’s spine-tingling team-talk went viral this week, writes Andrew Penman.
Appearing on an episode of Sky One panel show A League of Their Own, Sheen was asked by host Romesh Ranganathan for some words of inspiration for the Welsh team ahead of their World Cup clash with England and the Hollywood star delivered a speech that has captured the imagination in Wales and beyond.
MICHAEL SHEEN is truly MAGNIFICENT.
Get a LOAD of THIS. pic.twitter.com/zZh5k3jcSs
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) September 9, 2022
Accompanied by inspiring music, he began: “I hear the voices singing. Speed your voices boys, boys, bach.
“One nation, singing with one voice – a song of hope, a song of courage, a victory song that floats through the valleys like a red mist, rolls over the mountaintops like crimson thunder.
“A red storm is coming to the gates of Qatar. It crackles with the spirit of ‘58 and Jimmy Murphy’s boys.
“It turns the pages of the history books and finds Rob’s page waiting, still to be written.
“What would you write in there, boys? Dare you write your names on that page?
“We haven’t waited 64 years and come halfway around the world to be troubled by a neighbour from back home.”
Building to a magnificent crescendo he calls on Gareth Bale’s boys to “give 'em some Welsh sugar”, ending with a rousing “As they fall around us, we are still here!”, to a standing ovation from the other panellists and the audience.
And it’s clear that Sheen’s words have also inspired Page and his players.
“Outstanding, outstanding. ‘Give him some sugar.’ It’s fantastic,” said the national boss.
“I well-up every time I watch it. I’d been in a meeting in Cardiff and my phone was going mad, so I knew something significant had happened. When I watched it, wow, [I was] very emotional. I was in awe of it, it was unbelievable.
“I’ve already had messages from the players,” he added. “I’ve had some great reaction from the players and the staff.
“They want to get him in straight away, absolutely. When you’ve got the passion to do that, we’ve got to use it to our benefit, absolutely.”
Page is preparing his Wales squad for Nations League matches in Belgium and at home to Poland next week before attention switches to the nation’s first World Cup finals appearance since 1958 in November.
“Welsh football is in a good place at the moment,” said the manager, who has agreed a new contract that will run to 2026.
“I’ve had pals that live in England going: ‘Wow, to be Welsh [must] be unbelievable.’ They are watching our games going: ‘Why can’t we have that?’ It’s incredible, the atmosphere that we’ve got, that link we’ve got between supporters and the songs. I’ve got friends in England going: ‘I’d rather watch your games.’”
Asked if he or the Football Association of Wales had reached out to Sheen, Page said: “I will do, absolutely. Personally I want to thank him for doing that. I do. 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.”