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Forget Ollie Watkins: Villa’s John McGinn sent Dean Smith a huge message with Scotland display

All in all, it was a pretty successful day of international football if you’re an Aston Villa fan.

Ollie Watkins marked his England debut by scoring in a 5-0 thrashing of San Marino, while Tyrone Mings also featured in the drubbing of the minnows.

However, one man who arguably outshone Villa’s Three Lions contingent was John McGinn.

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The £34m-rated midfielder was the star of the show as Scotland rescued a late 2-2 draw at home to Austria on Thursday night, with the Villa man scoring an incredible overhead kick in the final few minutes.

It wasn’t just his superb goal which saw McGinn really stand out for the Tartan Army, with the 26-year-old really showing a defensive nous and in holding down the midfield alongside Scott McTominay.

As per Sofascore, his tally of four interceptions was the highest of any player on the pitch, and he could be often seen shuttling across the pitch to close down the passing lanes into Austria’s two-man strike force.

McGinn was also a threat at the other end of the pitch, with his usual energy and dynamism seeing him pop up in the opposition box, as he did for his goal – his total of three shots on goal were the joint-most of any Scot.

Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Scottish Sun, Kenny MacDonald gave McGinn a seven, noting: “30th cap for the Villa man started in an oddly withdrawn midfield role before being freed when McGregor came on – and responded with fabulous technique to level with eighth international goal.

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The display sent a huge message to Villa manager Dean Smith about what McGinn can bring to the table, with the midfielder facing added competition for places at Villa Park thanks to the arrival of Morgan Sanson in the January transfer window.

With the likes of Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba also battling out for those all-important midfield spots, McGinn’s Scotland masterclass will have been a timely reminder to Smith of his qualities.

Meanwhile, Gregg Evans has delivered a major transfer update on Aston Villa…

Article title: Forget Ollie Watkins: Villa’s John McGinn sent Dean Smith a huge message with Scotland display

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