Given his importance to Aston Villa, it was a major boost for Dean Smith to see John McGinn have a significant influence in our 3-1 win over Fulham.
Whether it was fatigue, a dip in form or perhaps a combination of both, the 26-year-old hasn’t quite been at the high standard that he has set during his time at the club.
However, with the shackles loosened as he was deployed in a more advanced role at the weekend, the Scottish international returned to having the type of influence that we have become accustomed to.
As seen in the tweet below from the club’s account, McGinn did a bit of everything in our comeback win over Scott Parker’s side on Sunday, providing an attacking spark as well as putting himself about to try and give us a foothold in the game.
His ability to break between the lines and pose a threat from distance added a different dynamic to an otherwise blunt attack, and it was certainly the kind of impetus that we have been lacking especially without Jack Grealish in the starting XI.
As seen in the latter stages of the game, it’s likely that McGinn will drop back into a deeper midfield role when Smith has his full strength squad available for selection, but he’ll be delighted to see our midfield engine-room return to form and show more of the class that he has displayed over the past couple of years.
While Trezeguet and Keinan Davis provided a timely spark off the bench at the weekend, it remains to be seen how long Grealish remains sidelined for and whether or not others can step up and produce in his absence.
With so much still on the line this season with nine games remaining as we look to finish as high up the Premier League table as possible, a return to top form for McGinn would give all concerned a big lift.
The combative midfield ace will never be questioned in terms of his work ethic and desire, but we saw more of the quality and influence that we need from him moving forward if we are to finish the campaign positively.
𝟱 successful dribbles
𝟭 aerial duel won
𝟭 tackle won
𝟭 key pass
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) April 5, 2021