Tuesday 23 January 2018

Will Grigg's on fire and hopes the rest of Europe's terrified

Will Grigg ended the season as the top scorer in Sky Bet League One with 25 goals
Will Grigg ended the season as the top scorer in Sky Bet League One with 25 goals

Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg cannot escape the suggestion he is on fire at the moment and he hopes the viral chant that has gripped social media will make it across to the Euros with him this summer.

Wigan fan Sean Kennedy's infectious adaptation of Gala's 1996 hit 'Freed from Desire' has been the musical accompaniment to Latics' promotion-winning season and Grigg's golden boot-clinching campaign in Sky Bet League One.

Its popularity has extended far beyond the DW Stadium, though, with Scotland international Leigh Griffiths amongst those hailing the "catchy" nature of a ditty that has already earned Kennedy a season ticket from Wigan chairman David Sharpe for next term.

The Twitter account @WillGriggFire, which posts videos with the chant dubbed over, also has almost 10,000 more followers than Grigg does himself, yet the 24-year-old concedes it is a tune which did inspire his end-of-season purple patch.

"Sean Kennedy, the Wigan fan, did a few songs before that and they caught on around the stadium and training ground, but not quite like this," he explained to Press Association Sport.

"When this one came out it was unbelievable. To hear the fans singing it for eight or nine minutes every single game is good and it came at a good time with myself scoring goals. It definitely gave myself an extra little bit and I think the boys in the team clocked on to it and we've got some great videos."

Grigg's form, where he scored 10 times in Wigan's final nine fixtures, earned him a recall to Michael O'Neill's international set-up for this Friday's home friendly with Belarus and there was a familiar tune greeting him at the squad meet-up in Manchester last week.

"It's when I'm walking anywhere, even meeting up with the boys here, it's the first thing they sing," he added.

"It's not going to get old for myself so hopefully I can keep going and if it gets going at the Euros that would be something special."

That may only happen if Grigg is confirmed in O'Neill's final 23-man squad, which is not a certainty given the likes of Josh Magennis, Liam Boyce, Conor Washington and Billy McKay are also in an expanded 28-man group.

Grigg has won seven caps, though none since a friendly with Qatar last May, and his bow came four years ago when a much-changed Northern Ireland team conceded six for the first time in 51 years against a Holland team preparing for Euro 2012.

"That was an interesting game," Grigg said.

"It was almost surreal. Weirdly, I enjoyed it as my first international match even though it was so disappointing. It taught us a lesson in terms of what level we had to be at and we've learned from that over the years. We've come a very long way - to think that was my first game and here we now is incredible."

Four years on and Grigg and the Northern Irish are preparing for the Euros, while the Dutch will be watching at home.

And the chance to take part in his country's first major international tournament in 30 years softened the blow of missing out on Wigan's post-season trip to Las Vegas, when Grigg's phone was inundated with pictures and videos, a lot of which featured that chant.

"I had to remove myself from the group chat, it was a bit too emotional," Grigg joked.

"No, you've got to prioritise these things and the chance to be at the Euros is a little bit more than Vegas."

Press Association

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