Gareth Bale praises Michael Sheen’s ‘fantastic speech’ after rousing rallying cry went viral
Wales captain Gareth Bale has praised Michael Sheen’s “fantastic speech” after the actor’s rousing rallying cry went viral last week.
Michael Sheen was asked on sports TV quiz show A League Of Their Own to create a pep talk for Robert Page’s Wales ahead of their World Cup clash with England.
The result went around the world, as Michael Sheen produced one of the most rousing, stirring, spine-tingling rallying cries in the history of passionate oratory.
Garteh Bale himself was clearly impressed, telling Sky News that the team’s WhatsApp group had burst to life as people shared the video.
“He was in our WhatsApp group – everyone sent it in,” he said. “I had about 100 people send it to me.
“No, it was a fantastic speech. Yeah, very moving and, like, I think the gaffer said he’s more than welcome to come and give us a speech at any time.
“But I’m sure we’re going to be motivated, and be motivated enough come the first game anyway.”
Michael Sheen said last week that he had to come up with the speech off the cuff because he wasn’t sure what was expected of him.
“I was given a heads up beforehand that I’d be asked to do something but they were expecting a little jokey one liner or something like that,” he says.
“I knew I wanted to go for something more than that though knowing it would be filmed properly and get a big push through the programme.
“I had a couple of ideas for lines but then as we started filming it felt like totally the wrong vibe in a studio full of English people and everyone really excited about (England goalkeeper) Aaron Ramsdale being there.”
Nevertheless, he adds his first thoughts were with the Welsh nation.
“I just thought I have to forget about the people here and just think about the people back home who will see it eventually – hopefully. But I knew I’d have to give it extra welly to try and make it work in the studio so I just went for it.
“When it got the reaction from that English audience and panel that it did – knowing they wouldn’t even have got a lot of the references – I figured it might go down well with people at home who were into their football so I was excited for it to come out. ”
However, there was the little matter of the story that has dominated the news headlines breaking on the evening the show was aired.
“The night of it being on was when the Queen passed away and so of course it just didn’t register at all understandably,” he says.
“I was filming in Budapest at the time and just thought ah well never mind perhaps I’ll do it again for something closer to the time.”
What happened next took the actor completely by surprise.
“Then the next day we were travelling home and whilst we were in the air someone must have put the first video of it online and people started sharing it,” he recalls.
“By the time I switched my phone on again it had millions of views already and then it just kept going.
“Incredible to see how it connected with people from all over. Amazing really.”
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