International football, despite the lucrative club game, remains the zenith of many players’ career. International tournaments like Euros, Copa America and World Cup provide grand stages for players to perform. Players get a chance to capture everyone’s attention and make their name a household one. Well performing players at these tournaments can secure career-changing moves.
FootTheBall is covering players that are currently somewhat under the radar but possess the potential to explode at the Euros. These players have shone for their domestic teams but for one reason or another, haven’t yet taken the leap from “Good” to “World-Class”. They’ll be hoping a scintillating Euro 2020 can help them secure that move. John McGinn of Aston Villa is one such player that will be of interest to many scouts and teams.
Let’s go 🏴🏴 pic.twitter.com/3dvsoK9Au1
— John McGinn (@jmcginn7) June 4, 2021
WHO IS JOHN McGINN?
John McGinn is a 23-year-old Scottish midfielder who plays for the Premier League club Aston Villa. McGinn was a product of the Scottish club St Mirren’s academy. He rose through their youth ranks and broke into the first team as an 18-year-old. In his first senior season in 2012-2013, he helped Mirren win the Scottish League Cup. McGinn left Mirren on bad terms in the summer of 2015 after a training prank turned into a major injury.
Fellow Scottish club Hibernian bought him in the summer of 2015. McGinn drove them to their first-ever Scottish Cup triumph in 2016. The following year Hibs won promotion to the Scottish Premiership with McGinn playing a pivotal role with five goals and nine assists. McGinn, who was a big game player, scored crucial goals against Celtic and Rangers in the Premiership as he helped them survive in the top flight.
Aston Villa in the Championship then made a £2 million move for McGinn in the summer of 2018 as he was deemed ready to prove himself in England. McGinn became a fan favourite as his 6 goals and 10 assists fired them to the Premier League. He scored the winner in the play-off final as well.
What dreams are made of.. thank you everyone for the messages! We are going up 🙌🏻😘 pic.twitter.com/XktmPIfVkq
— John McGinn (@jmcginn7) May 28, 2019
McGinn marked his Premier League bow with a goal against Tottenham in a 3-1 loss for Aston Villa. He was instrumental in their relegation fight that season as Villa escaped the drop by a single point. If not for McGinn’s injury earlier in the season they would’ve been in a more comfortable position. With a new lease of life and a strong McGinn, Villa outperformed expectations in the Premier League 2020/2021 season. McGinn registered three goals and five assists as Villa finished 11th. They’re in a much better position now for next season’s Premier League.
McGinn primarily plays as a box-to-box midfielder. McGinn can play anywhere across the midfield. He enjoys playing in a pivot in Dean Smith’s 4-2-3-1 system. It brings the best out of him. He can roam the entire pitch and perform his defensive duties to his best as well as contribute to attack. Being a left-footed player, McGinn also plays as a right-sided central midfielder in a 4-3-3. He can also excel when deployed as a creative number ten.
McGinn is a master of both defensive and attacking plays. His ability to read the game and position himself to cut out threats is wonderful. He’s blessed with a good physical frame that gives him great strength and an advantage in ground and aerial duels. McGinn makes crucial tackles and interceptions each game. His work rate on and off the ball is extremely high which helps Villa’s free-flowing football.
— Kristoffer (@KristofferF) September 22, 2018
When it comes to attacking his skill set is as good as any in the Premier League. Just minutes into his Villa debut in 2018 he showcased what he possessed. He won the ball back in his own half, dribbled away from the press, and played a perfect 50-yard lobbed pass that almost resulted in a goal. This sequence pretty much explains everything about McGinn. He has been doing it regularly for three years at Villa Park now.
McGinn is a supreme ball carrier and uses his intelligence to find a killer pass. He averages 1.14 shot-creating actions per 90 and has overperformed his xG and xA this season with three goals and five assists. McGinn also has a good eye for spectacular goals. He won the goal of the season in the Championship in 2018 for a swerving 25-yard volley. McGinn also scored a fabulous bicycle kick for Scotland while on international duty.
McGinn, at 26, is entering the prime of his career. What happens at Euros can play a huge role in deciding his future. He is also a flagbearer of Scotland and its resurgence on the global stage. His aggressive style of play suits a majority of the top Premier League clubs. Euro 2020 may just provide the chance for him to flex his skills on a world stage. If he manages to impress managers and scouts, chances might come flooding from across Europe.
John McGinn's game by numbers vs Chelsea:
19 duels contested
10 duels won
10 final ⅓ entries
10 ball recoveries
6 fouls won
4 penalty box entries
3 tackles made
2 chances created
2 take-ons completed
1 woodwork hit
One of the best box-to-box players in the league. 🔋
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 28, 2020
On the back of a highly successful season, he’d be looking to translate that form into the Euros. They are pitted in a tough group at the mega tournament. McGinn must make the most of the opportunities he gets to impress the top dogs of football.
PREDICTION FOR EUROS
John McGinn was a part of the Scotland national team since 2016. He won a man-of-the-match award on his international debut. He was in sensational scoring form for the Scots as his seven goals drove them to a first major tournament in 23 years. McGinn even captained Scotland in 2020 as regular captain Andrew Robertson was injured.
— John McGinn (@jmcginn7) May 18, 2021
He’ll be a definite starter for them at the Euros. His presence in the midfield engine room can determine Scotland’s fate at the tournament. A monumental clash with old foes England can determine their fate in the group. A clash against their fierce rivals, containing many of the finest Premier League players, would be perfectly suited for McGinn to showcase his ability.
IDEAL LANDING SPOT
John McGinn can stay at Villa if he believes their project is good enough. Aston Villa have played really good football this season though they have finished 11th. They’re making statement signings this time and are eyeing European football next season. He is contracted to 2024 in Birmingham and is quite happy there. He could think of leaving only if a ginormous offer arrives.
We are delighted to announce that John McGinn has signed a new five-year contract with the Club. ✍️
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 8, 2019
McGinn can also show ambition by leaving Villa for a club that offers European football or can challenge for trophies regularly. Assessing McGinn’s strengths Manchester United and West Ham United can be said as the ideal landing spots for McGinn.
Manchester United deploys a similar 4-2-3-1 and lacks a proper box-to-box midfielder who can make a difference. Their existing crop of Scott McTominay and Fred have failed to fire them to titles. John McGinn has an admirer in United’s ex-boss the legendary Sir Alexander Ferguson. The Scottish manager advised his side to sign McGinn back in 2019 and has been raving about him ever since.
'I laughed at Manchester United rumours'
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 10, 2019
West Ham United are also a rumored destination according to the rumour mill. David Moyes’ Hammers are in for a European adventure next season in the Europa League. McGinn is a perfect number 10 and can boost West Ham’s creativity. The Hammers have exciting midfield options like Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice and McGinn can go on to add suave to their midfield.
A successful Euros could boost McGinn’s appeal through Europe. A huge summer awaits before suitors queue up for the midfield maestro valued at around £30 million now which might just skyrocket.