Aston Villa’s first trip to Europe in 13 years will be spearheaded by John McGinn.
The Villa captain continued his incredible comeback since Unai Emery was hired by being the standout of his team’s 4-0 demolition of Everton on Sunday.
We shine a focus on the well-liked 28-year-old Scot as he is ready to make an emotional comeback to his previous team Hibernian in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off match.
Emery’s transformation of Villa is well known, and a major factor in that development was his influence on McGinn’s circumstances.
The Scotland international, who had been named captain by his predecessor Steven Gerrard, had dropped out of Villa’s starting lineup by the time Emery’s season-opening match against Manchester United came along in November.
He is now one of the first names on the squad sheet once more after gradually being reintegrated into the club in a new wide midfield position as opposed to the deeper role he previously being played in.
Choosing an advanced position on the left or right allows McGinn to display all of his strengths, including his bursty running, physicality, and underappreciated passing range.
As we witnessed with his first goal against the Toffees on Sunday, he is now trying to hone the skill of sneaking into the box and scoring on his own.
Although it is simple to overlook ambitious Villa’s quick ascension from the Championship just five years ago, the club is now seen as one of the groups capable of upending the established Premier League hierarchy.
At the beginning of their third consecutive season in the second division in 2018–19, while they were vying for promotion, Steve Bruce reportedly paid £3 million for the services of McGinn, who quickly won over the support of the crowd.
While there are still traces of the vivacious, swashbuckling rough diamond who covered every blade of grass back then in his game now, he has grown more disciplined under Emery and now chooses his chances to strike.
On his skipper, Emery said: “Now I think he would cost more than before. His career is getting better and better.
“It is good because John McGinn is always positive in the dressing room, always happy, always demanding, always committed with his team-mates.”