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Alex McLeish
Gender Male
Ethnic Scottish
Job Scottish Football Coach
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Club as Player Scotland National Team [Head Coach]
  Birmingham [Head Coach]

2009 08 13 Retrieve

[Birmingham City have today confirmed that they have signed left-back Gregory Vignal from French outfit Lens, subject to a medical] He’s a good athlete, he’s mobile and he’s strong and aggressive. I think he stirred the fans up and British fans appreciate that kind of approach. He played a season with me at Rangers when we won the league and it was a very successful campaign for him then, so I know what Greg can bring us. I’ve kept in touch with him and his family and I know he’s been bursting over the last couple of years to get back to the top league

2010 08 31 Retrieve

[Striker Dembele opted to join Fulham instead of the midlands outfit while N’Zogbia’s high wage demands reportedly led McLeish to pull the plug on a £9 million transfer from Premier League rivals Wigan] We are trying our best to bring people in to improve the quality of the squad. The near misses I’ve had with Dembele, N’Zogbia and others, that’s unfortunate when you see how good these players are but there are other ones out there and we’ll try and add somebody before 6 o’clock on Tuesday

[The Birmingham manager also revealed that the knee injury which Sebastian Larsson] We thought it may have been a dislocated kneecap, something as severe as that, but it doesn’t seem as bad as when he fell on the ground

2019 07 05 Retrieve

[Kieran Tierney has been told by former Scotland boss Alex McLeish that he is ready to join a more important club than Celtic] Tierney is ready for the big jump and to go to a more important club than Celtic. When his team played Barcelona, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, he always stood out, and that makes him ready. He’s got attacking qualities, but is also a great defender. He’s very young and while he had a few injuries, there’s no particular problems. He’s really quick and not only a player who knows how to defend. He’s got stamina, can run many kilometres without stopping. We’re talking about a real athlete. [Carlo] Ancelotti has the right qualities to get the best out of Tierney’s potential, and Napoli would be a great step for him.

2020 03 15 Retrieve

[Alex McLeish says Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour boasts the same unique qualities as ex-France international Alain Giresse] He reminds me of former France midfielder Alain Giresse, who I remember playing against for Scotland in a warm-up game prior to the European Championships in 1984.

Jock Stein came over to me before kick-off and told me to be as physical as I liked against Giresse because, to use that well-worn phrase: ‘He won’t fancy it.’ Famous last words

France effectively lined-up with a five-man midfield. Giresse was there - this was that great French side that contained the likes of Jean Tigana and a fella called Michel Platini

We were playing a flat back-four and so we had no-one to mark - which was unusual for us - and we were absolutely battered in the first-half. We came in two-down at the break and I still remember Gordon Strachan turning around to me and asking what was the record defeat for a Scotland team against France. We were given a run-around. And at the heart of it was this Giresse fella. It didn’t matter how aggressively I went to engage with him, by the time I got there the ball had been moved on. He had an answer for everything

The times when I did actually get close, it had no effect. Giresse may have only been small in stature but he was solid. And one thing I have picked up on, having watched Billy play for Chelsea and looking back to the time playing for Scotland’s Under-21s, is the fact that they have worked on his core strength.

The other player he reminds me of - with respect of his willingness to take a ball under pressure in any situation - was Barry Ferguson. One of Barry’s many great qualities is that he would accept a pass, regardless of the stadium he was playing in, the opposition or the match situation. He would take the ball and do something positive with it. He would re-cycle it. Take it back, move it forward, sideways - whatever the situation called for, he made the right decision

Now, it’s not fair to heap that kind of comparison upon Billy’s shoulders quite just yet but I see the same calmness in possession, like he is one step ahead. It’s a rare quality in the game. And if he keeps a level head, he really could go on to be quite a player

2020 03 15b Retrieve

[McLeish added on calls for current Scotland boss Steve Clarke to include Gilmour in his next squad] Now, of course, there will be a clamour for Steve to include him. And he does have a difficult choice to make in there because he already has good midfielders. More importantly, he has established some momentum in that area of the field and he won’t want to disrupt

The likes of Ryan Christie and James Forrest for instance, aren’t going to give up their places lightly. But at the same time, if Billy is playing regularly for Chelsea, then it is very difficult to ignore him. Steve knows only too well the level and quality that is demanded at Stamford Bridge. The point is, if Billy is progressing and playing then he is going to get a look in sooner rather than later. And if he can take that step up in his stride in the way he has taken to the Premier League, then he could take some dislodging

2020 05 26 Retrieve

[Man Utd bid to land Jack Grealish in 2012 revealed by former Aston Villa boss McLeish] At that moment we felt people were getting in contact with him to leave Villa. That was one of the main reasons to get him involved with us [in the first team]. He would have been on the bench anyway because of the casualties we had. He was the best youngster coming through. When we played Man United we heard he was in a restaurant being courted by one of the agents to try and get him to Man United. We were a bit alarmed about that so we fought well to keep him. We knew he loved Villa, his old man as well. We had them in speaking to them. They’re lovely people. They asked for something and the club went it’s too much but, finally, you come to an agreement and everybody’s happy. Jack stayed at Aston Villa, which is great to see one of the great players of Villa nowadays staying with his boyhood club

[McLeish added on the role he played in Jack Grealish’s development] I’d see Jack with his famous socks down his legs! He had that swagger. Watching him as a kid on the field ghosting past people with the ball at his feet. You could see all day long he was going to be a star, no doubt about it, which is why we thought we’d have to pretty well keep him at Villa. When Jack came in I saw that, while he wasn’t a big shouter, he was a boy who was willing to take the ball in any part of the pitch. The guy I likened him to at the time was Barry Ferguson. He could have played in any stadium in the world and Barry was fearless in taking the ball, saying: ‘Just gimme the ball, just gimme the ball!’