Aston Villa boss hails former Hibs star’s ability and character


Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has hailed John McGinn’s ability and character as the Scotland international prepares to play his first match in seven months in tomorrow’s clash with Sheffield United.

The clash marks the resumption of Premier League football after the game came to a shuddering halt on March 13 due to the pandemic.

Former Hibs and St Mirren midfielder McGinn is also itching to get restarted after initially being sidelined with an ankle fracture that he sustained in the December 21 defeat to Southampton.

McGinn had been on the verge of a comeback before lockdown kicked in and Smith is thrilled to have the 25-year-old at his disposal as Villa look to move out of the relegation zone.

Smith said: “It’s a massive boost, not just as a player but as a character. 

“He personifies the attitude that we want from our players, he’s a great person to have around, he is a bubbly character and on top of that he is a top player.

“He was rightly getting the plaudits before his injury and if I have any concerns it’s the fact that he hasn’t played for six months.

“The other players have not played for 12, 13 weeks but he’s not played for six months because of the injury and then the break. 

“We have to manage him appropriately after his injury and we will do so but it’s a massive boost to the coaching staff and the supporters – but more importantly his fellow peers.”