Express & Star

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery salutes versatile skipper John McGinn

Unai Emery has saluted John McGinn’s versatility with the skipper poised to play a more defensive role during Villa’s season run-in.


McGinn has played on either side of midfield and even as a second striker to Ollie Watkins at different points this term.

But the loss of Boubacar Kamara for the rest of the campaign has seen him move back into a central position in a Villa team still well in the hunt for Champions League football.

Emery, who allowed Leander Dendoncker to leave for Napoli on loan, will give chances to youngster Tim Iroegbunam in defensive midfield yet it is McGinn who will be tasked with carrying the bulk of the workload.

The boss was delighted with his performance in last weekend’s win at Fulham and said: “John McGinn, his spirit is amazing and his quality as well. When the match needed something more on Saturday, he responded very well.

“He is an experienced player and is progressing here. This is the first time he is playing for something higher in his career, to be in the top seven, top five, top four.

“He is very motivated and one of the leaders in the dressing room. Plus his ability to play in different positions, being versatile like he is, is very important.

“Always you can feel with him 90 minutes is not a long time for him to play. He has good fitness and is in good spirit.”