Dean Smith heaps praise on Villa’s ‘best player this season’ John McGinn

The Scotland midfielder has been in fine form for club and country in the early stages of this season

If there’s one thing you can say Aston Villa have been this season, it’s consistent. Consistently inconsistent, that is.

From outplaying the Champions of Europe and winning at Old Trafford to losing at Watford and most recently capitulating at home to Wolves - it’s been an eventful first few months.

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But within the madness there has been one constant. John McGinn.

The 27-year-old has always been talented but his performances this season seem to have taken another step forward. He’s been immense, in truth.

And whilst it isn’t going unnoticed by the fans, the same can be said for manager Dean Smith who couldn’t help but heap the praise on the Scot in his pre-match press conference.

John McGinn takes on Kai Havertz. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

“He’s been our best player this season in my opinion,” he said.

“I think he’s coming to the fore again. He won every award going the season we got promoted. Then he started his first Premier season really well but unfortunately he got injured and he struggled coming back in that time and was out for 6-7 months.

“But now he looks every bit the player we want and expect him to be. He’s not just doing it for club, he’s doing it for country as well.

“He epitomises what we’re all about. Quality, wholehearted effort and he’s a driving force for the team.

“He’s a proper box-to-box midfielder who has got all the capabilities of doing anything on the ball, in terms of switching the play, playing short stuff. He’s got a good awareness of what’s about him.

“He’s a throwback to a player like Bryan Robson - although maybe not as good in the air as Bryan Robson!

“He’s getting back to scoring goals, which I like as well, because it’s a big part of his game that he brought for us.

“Technically he’s a very good player. Hitting long passes, hitting short passes, having an awareness of what’s around him. He uses his body well, that was what players from a different era used to do and he’s very good at that, which probably gets overlooked.

“But not at Aston Villa.”

Scotland's John McGinn celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

As well as praise for the man on the pitch, he had plenty of praise for the person he is off it, saying how lucky the club are to have someone like McGinn around the place.

“When you get to know his character and personality, he’s not unnoticed very often, that’s for sure,” he joked.

“He’s a big driving force for the football club and the team, in and out of the dressing room.

“He’s got a bit of banter about him and that keeps the dressing room going at times, which is very important. He’s got that character about him.

“He’s a little bit of a throwback to players from another era at times.”