Alex McLeish has praised the three players from his Aston Villa squad for playing and making Gary Speed proud despite his death shock.

Shay Given, James Collins and Jermaine Jenas were all noticed for their professionalism after playing for Villa hours after learning of their dear friends death.

Given could be seen crying during the minutes silence and prior to kick off, Jenas was 'extremely distraught and Collins was described as 'white as a sheet'.

McLeish was quick to express his condolences and described how his 'blood ran cold'; “It was terrible news,” said McLeish. “Shay Given gave it to me ten minutes before my team talk.

“My blood ran cold. There were upset players before the match but I was glad it didn’t affect their performances. Shay pulled off a great save near the end – his concentration was great.

"But it is a devastating loss to football. My heart goes out to Gary Speed’s family and friends."

With regards to the game doing ahead, McLeish would have understood if the game has been postponed.

“I was worried about some of our lads," he added. "Shay was shaking. He was upset at the minute’s applause and I was really worried about losing him. James was as white as a sheet.

“Jermaine played with Gary at Newcastle as a partner in midfield so these guys were all extremely distraught.

“It was tough for them and I told them part of their motivation for playing the game was making it a tribute to Gary, playing your very best and letting that drive them through the game," added McLeish.

The understanding manager made it clear that he did give his players the option of missing the fixture.

With regards to the death of a sportsman inspired by many the Villa boss said;

“There will be a few more tears shed, absolutely no doubt about that."

The reflective mood of loss overshadowed the 0-0 draw with the bigger issue on everybody's minds. The football world mourns.

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#Football
#Premier League
#Newcastle United
#Aston Villa