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SOD ON EUROS

By Kenny MacDonald

MOTHERWELL defender Stephen O’Donnell has lifted the veil on criticism he received during the Euro – and revealed his private appeal to Fir Park boss Graham Alexander.

O’Donnell was targeted after Steve Clarke’s side’s opening loss to the Czech Republic – but responded with an assault performance against England.

But O’Donnell believes the criticism and praise he received in the finale was overdone.

He told BBC Sportsound: “I tried to stay somewhere in the middle.

“It was frustrating at times because you think the review is a bit exaggerated – but at the same time, I thought maybe the praise was a bit exaggerated too.

“There were things in the game against England that I could have done better and you would have thought I would never go wrong in my career because of the praise that followed.

“I might not have been aware of a lot of things that had happened because every message I got after the England game was from people saying ‘what was said was exaggerated’, so god knows how bad it was.

“I stayed in my bubble and tried not to go on social media too much, but the feeling I got after the first game was that I had been horrible.

“I called my manager at Motherwell and had a little chat with him. I just wanted to talk to her to make sure I wasn’t in denial.

“The kind of person that I am, I will always look at the negatives.

“The things that have been said reflect that everyone in Scotland was interested and would have loved to do it.

“Of course you would much rather have praise than criticism, but that is part of being a footballer.

“But the first Czech goal was the one that baffled me, because surely people could see what I was doing.

“I felt it was a little hard, because if the ball slipped on him, I would be blasted for that, so it’s tricky.

“In the first game, I felt that I had played it badly. Much of the joy I had was competing with their left-back in the air and getting on the second ball.

“I should have realized that it was a game to be a little deeper, which would have been more natural for me.

“But at the time, I wanted to tackle the full-back and try to create – but I didn’t really create anything.

“On the ball I let myself down and that was a disappointment for me. I was pretty solid defensively, I did my job, but I expect better and maybe it was a bit too much. . “