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John McGinn: Dean Smith favourite holds Aston Villa back in derby win at Wolves

Dean Smith will be livid with John McGinn after the Aston Villa midfielder provided a torrid display during the West Midlands derby win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

The Villans stole victory from the jaws of a draw with substitute Anwar El Ghazi converting a stoppage-time penalty to snatch all three points, as red cards for Douglas Luiz and Joao Moutinho saw both sides end the game with 10-men.

McGinn opened the Premier League clash alongside Luiz and youngster Jacob Ramsey in the engine room, as the 19-year-old earned his maiden top-flight start in a baptism of fire after Ross Barkley was ruled unfit following his layoff with a hamstring injury.

Should Smith consider benching McGinn?

Yes, he's been awful

Yes, he's been awful

No, he has to play

No, he has to play

Smith would have hoped to see McGinn shoulder much of the midfield burden and show Wolves and fans across the country why he was handed a new contract on Friday, which sees the 26-year-old tied to the claret and blue side on improved terms through to 2025 despite only penning a revised deal in August 2019.

But McGinn was far from the star of the show, with the Scotland international’s role in winning the late penalty only proving to overshadow a display in which he often held Aston Villa back.

McGinn – who Smith lauds for his “remarkable” spirit – frequently ghosted into Wolves territory as he spotted space in between Conor Coady and Nelson Semedo, yet often became an easy read for the host’s when lining up efforts or passes through on goal.

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The Molineux natives were able to pocket possession frequently in the Villans’ half, too, as McGinn turned the ball over time and time again – ending the match having lost possession 21 times, more than any other visiting player, per SofaScore.

He further committed a joint-team-high three fouls, was dribbled past a game-high four times, made only one successful tackle and one successful dribble, while failing to direct his only successful strike on target whilst earning a 10th-straight start of the league season.

The 29-cap star was left a mere passenger of his side’s performance, losing eight of 13 ground duels, one of three aerial contests and failing to connect with any of his four attempted crosses, as McGinn performed far below his best after Smith suggested those levels were close.

Meanwhile, Villa must reignite their interest in this “talismanic” star.

Article title: John McGinn: Dean Smith favourite holds Aston Villa back in derby win at Wolves

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