The Aston Villa midfielder has been sensational for the Villa Park side this season and also for Scotland.

Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has hailed Aston Villa manager Dean Smith’s decision to deploy John McGinn in a more advanced role, saying it is “working a trick” (Sky Sports News).

The Scotland international has been sensational for club and country this season, building on his impressive work from last term when he helped the Villa Park side get promoted into the Premier League.

McGinn has scored three goals and registered two assists for Villa, while for Scotland he has rattled in six goals and claimed one assist in his last three games, including three and one in the last international break against Cyprus and Kazakhstan (Transfermarkt).

Looking ahead to Villa’s Premier League clash with Newcastle on Monday night, Nicholas praised his compatriot before going into further detail about how he feels the match will pan out – he predicted a 2-1 win for Smith and co.

“John McGinn is playing further forward and it is working a trick,” Nicholas wrote on Sky Sports News. “Aston Villa need to nurture and control leads much better, and at times they leave themselves vulnerable.

“That being said, I have to admire the way Dean Smith goes about it. Villa is also Bruce’s old club and will sit in once again, but Villa will sneak it. There is enough about them to create enough chances.”

Scotland coach Steve Clarke had previously also hailed Smith’s masterstroke, telling: the Daily Record (page 69, 21/11/19): “International football is a different level. It took John McGinn a long time to find out the level.

“The little tweak in John’s position, which came from Aston Villa who stuck him a little bit higher up the pitch, has made a difference. We have utilised it as well. As well as giving us a threat attacking-wise with John arriving in the box, which he is very good at, it also gives us a good high-press at times.”

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