Express & Star

Team-mates and boss hail impact of Aston Villa captain

Villa defender Pau Torres hailed the impact of John McGinn as the skipper produced an influential performance in the 3-1 victory against Fulham.

Aston Villa's John McGinn celebrates

McGinn not only grabbed his fifth goal of the season but also helped Villa wrestle control in midfield as they continued their Villa Park momentum to stay fifth in the Premier League table, just three points off the top.

“John played a fantastic game against Fulham,” said Torres. “He was very strong, winning the duels with Palhinha, who is a strong player.

“He gave us a lot in the game and I am really happy for him with his goal and his performance.

“He always speaks with the team and motivates us to keep working.

“In the past he has lived some difficult moments with the club but now he is really enjoying it and is helping us a lot.”

Boss Unai Emery also heaped praise on his captain for his continuing impact.

“John himself is very demanding – he is a very good example,” said Emery. “He is competitive and is always ready to play, physically as well. When he is not training and not playing he is resting, but his energy is always full!

“I appreciate as a person how he is and as a professional he is fantastic. His connection here, his commitment here for a long time for the supporters, Aston Villa and the project, he was here in the Championship.

“He is a player who I really appreciate and I really need to be an example for others.”

For Torres meanwhile, Villa’s incredible home record of 13 successive league wins is something he believes will be inspiring future opponents as he looks ahead to some big challenges after the international break.

“Every game is difficult,” he said. “The other teams come to Villa Park with a strong motivation to battle with us and to try and beat us in our home.

“We feel that but we also feel that now we are one of the top teams in this league. We are just concentrating on keeping in this way.

“This run of victories started last season with the team and it has continued this year.

“We are very proud and very happy but we need to keep working to keep it going.”