John McGinn Scotland performance shows why Unai Emery is right to keep Youri Tielemans waiting at Aston Villa
It has been an impressive start to the season for Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn, who continued that strong form with a fine performance for Scotland during their Euro 2024 qualifier against Cyprus.
McGinn has been named in five of Villas’ six starting lineups so far this season, only being dropped for the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League qualifying tie against Hibernian, after the match was effectively tied up with a 5-0 victory in the first leg.
And so far he has rewarded the faith being placed in him by his boss Unai Emery with a string of strong performances. He scored a 7.5 match rating during the 4-0 win against Everton, a 7.3 against Hibernian and a 7.2 in the 3-1 win at Turf Moor against Burnley (Sofascore).
Against the Toffees, he grabbed himself a goal while completing 80 per cent of his passes and succeeding with four of his seven attempted dribbles. He also won seven of his 11 ground duels during what was his most impressive performance of the season for his club so far.
In fact, McGinn has been so impressive, that he has kept summer signing Youri Tielemans out of the side, who hit out at the club over his lack of game time while away with Belgium.
As reported by Belgian outlet DH (8 September), Tielemans told reporters, “The situation is not pleasant. I told the manager [Emery] that I came to Villa to play. He understands me, but at the moment, he prefers to play with his two midfielders from last season.”
However, while the Belgian is complaining, McGinn is performing, and this will only strengthen Emery’s case to continue starting the Scotsman upon the resumption of the Premier League.
GlasgowLive (8 September), awarded McGinn with an 8/10 match rating for his performance against Cyprus on Thursday 8 September, writing, “Mr Consistent was at it again. Good flick on for McTominay’s early goal and a stunning curler on the half-hour mark His form for both club and country has been nothing short of outstanding for the past two years, at the least. Probably Scotland’s best player.”
It represents incredible praise, and the stats support the rating. Throughout his 83 minutes on the pitch, in addition to the goal and assist the 28-year-old grabbed, he completed an impressive 97 per cent of his passes, with one of those being key, created one big chance, played one accurate long ball, and had a further three shots, albeit they were all off target.
It was yet another fine performance from McGinn, and if he continues to perform at this level, there is no reason why Emery should consider dropping him.
In other Aston Villa news, another star at the club missed out on a crucial Premier League opportunity.