Frank McLintock on what it was like to line up against Jimmy Greaves

‘He was the laziest player I came up against!’: Frank McLintock recalls Jimmy Greaves’ tunnel vision to score and compares him to Lionel Messi

  • Sportsmail calls for Jimmy Greaves to be given the honours that he deserves 
  • Former opponent Frank McLintock reflected on the battles they had together 
  • He said Greaves would waste no effort tracking back in a bid to score more goals 
  • McLintock also thinks the style of play was similar in many ways to Lionel Messi 


Jimmy Greaves was a phenomenal player and stories of his dazzling brilliance on the ball keep coming. 

Former Scotland international and Arsenal star Frank McLintock had many battles against Greaves in north London derbies over the years. 

Here, he recalls what it was like to line up against the England great.  

He was one of the laziest players I played against! I would find myself saying to Jimmy: ‘I’ve had you in my pocket, I’ve kept you quiet for nearly 90 minutes, so how is it that you’ve scored two goals and won the game 2-1.’

I have read comments from his former team-mates in the Daily Mail this week, saying Bill Nicholson would always be telling him to get back and defend, and Jimmy would say he was saving his energy for scoring goals.

Well, that was typical.

Jimmy Greaves had a knack of scoring despite being a ‘lazy’ players, says Frank McLintock

People compare him a wee bit to Lionel Messi and they were very similar. The goals Jimmy scored would be placed into the corners.

Even if he was 20 yards out, very seldom would you see him hit a rocket shot. He just didn’t seem to need to do that.

He had an ability to wrong-foot defenders and goalkeepers. This was at a time when pitches were a disgrace compared to now and quite a lot of players were trying to kick lumps out of him. It was the only way they could compete.

McLintock turned out for Arsenal in the north London derby many times against Greaves

He was a magical player and always had a lovely, light-hearted demeanour. Quick to make quips. Never nasty or over the top. Never taking the mickey out of the opposition.

As soon as he was off the pitch, he would go back to being an ordinary, working-man’s guy.

He liked a drink and a joke, and showed a lot of courage to turn his back on alcohol.

I’m so glad what Sportsmail are doing for him. It has brought back fond memories and to see him honoured would be terrific. ‘Sir Jimmy’ — I would love that.

Greaves would rarely hammer the ball at goal and preferred to pick out the corners


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