By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

29th Mar, 2023 | 1:35pm

Aston Villa shackles removed from John McGinn, BBC pundit admits 'it's just a shame'

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park

Alan Hutton believes Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn becomes unshackled when he’s playing for Scotland in international fixtures.

McGinn, 28, scored his 16th goal for the Tartan Army last week in Scotland’s 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifier win over Cyprus (25 March).

The Villa midfielder now ranks seventh in Scotland’s all-time top goalscorers, three behind the legendary Ally McCoist and 14 behind joint top scorers Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish.

For Scotland, McGinn has averaged a goal every 3.3 matches but with Villa, he averages a goal every 10.7 appearances.

Hutton believes that Unai Emery and past Villa managers have held McGinn back in a more reserved midfield role whereas with Scotland, he’s more of their creator-in-chief and midfield goal threat.

“We’ve always seen this with John,” Hutton told Villa News. “He goes away with Scotland and he gets the freedom and the license [to get forward].

A lot of the time, he either plays off the striker, plays in a number 10 role, makes runs into the box and has an effect on the game. That’s when you get the best out of him.

With Aston Villa, it’s more structured. Especially at this moment in time.

Right now he’s playing on the wing but he’s tucked in, he wasn’t exactly a central midfielder but Boubacar Kamara’s injury has seen him move in.

It’s more structured under Unai Emery. He’s not really given that license to be up on his way up the pitch and affecting games. That’s down to the likes of Emi Buendia, Leon Bailey and Philippe Coutinho.

“Sometimes it just depends on what kind of players are in the squad and the Aston Villa and Scotland squads are different so he’s been given two different things to do.

It’s just a shame he can’t do that in a Villa shirt.”

In other Aston Villa news, a game-changing signing is on the cards at Villa Park this summer amid speculation of a big-name transfer.