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John McGinn must return to Aston Villa’s starting team

Having been named club captain at the start of the season, it has not been the best of campaigns for Aston Villa’s John McGinn.

He has overseen a torrid run of form which resulted in the sacking of Steven Gerrard, with the club sitting just one point above the relegation zone.

Should John McGinn start vs Manchester United?





Then, upon the dismissal of the former head coach, caretaker boss Aaron Danks saw fit to drop the Scotsman to the bench for his two matches in charge.

Now that Unai Emery is finally at the helm and will lead his side into this weekend’s fixture against Manchester United, he must return the 28-year-old to the line-up to give them the best possible chance against the buoyant Red Devils.

Despite being dropped, the £70k-per-week earner’s average SofaScore rating in the Premier League of 6.95 is actually the second-best of anyone at the club so far this campaign. Perhaps his dropping was due to his selection as captain acting as a microcosm for the many issues Gerrard created at Villa Park.

This is further supported by his underlying stats, as the “warrior” – in the words of Graeme Souness – is averaging 2.6 tackles per game as well as an 80% pass accuracy.

The “special” midfielder – as he has been labelled by Ashley Preece – offers a stable presence in the engine room and will battle well against the likes of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, affording these superstars no time on the ball.

Ranking seventh in the division for most pressures this season, directly correlating with McGinn’s inclusion in all but one of their league games, tells the story succinctly.

But his inclusion is merited, as he has a history of scoring against tougher opposition.

Plenty of the ‘big-six’ have fallen victim to his finishing prowess, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all having conceded to the midfielder.

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David Ginola at Aston Villa

First up, who did Aston Villa sign David Ginola from in 2000?

For someone with just nine Premier League goals, this marks a big-game mentality that they could rely upon this weekend.

Not only this, but the return of someone who Steve Bruce dubbed “strong, powerful and can score a goal” against a side like United, who are unbeaten in their last eight, could be instrumental.

He has all the capabilities to perform in a fixture like this, and the experience and quality to guide Emery through his return to English football. They could well be a match made in heaven.