With the FIFA Ultimate Team season in full swing, I thought it to be a good idea to take a look at one of the special cards of the Villa Fan Favorite, John McGinn.
A while back, in the last international break, McGinn scored his first international hat-trick against San Marino as Scotland put 6 past them. This performance saw McGinn enter the FIFA Team of the Week in the 5th active week of Ultimate Team.
Usually players like McGinn don’t fit into the metagame of FIFA Ultimate Team because of their height; however, last year his fully upgraded Team of the Season card was good enough despite the height difference and was one of my favorite super subs. I had been looking forward to this card since then and was happy to get my hands on it during my FUT Champions rewards.
Firstly, comparing the upgraded 81 rated TOTW card to the original 75 rated John McGinn the upgrades are very noticeable. The TOTW version has an upgrade to the face stats, or the stats on the front of the card, of 36 total points! This is incredibly notable due to McGinn’s role as a box to box midfielder, as more face stats usually denote an incredibly balanced card. The most interesting face stat to have been upgrade was the shooting stat which raised from 66 to a healthy 74. This shows the user that McGinn can knock one in from outside the box and opens up the midfielder’s play a bit.
When looking at the more in-depth statistics the card becomes even more attractive. The additions to the Agility and Balance stat of 6 each allow the midfielder to stop on a dime in game and have a go at the opponent. Also, the addition of both these stats make the midfielder much more lethal in the box, Agility allows for the maneuvering in tight spaces while Balance allows the player not to be shaken off of the action of shooting or passing. Another notable in-game stat is the Stamina increase, the Special card has received a boost to the Stamina stat of 5 bringing it to a whopping 93. This would allow the user to keep McGinn on a constant press, similar to his real-life behavior, thus winning the ball from the opposition and starting the break more frequently.
In game I tested the player within a wide variety of situations, these included different formations and positioning for the card. The first of the three main midfield positions and the position on the Card, Central Attacking Mid. I played McGinn as the CAM in a 41212 narrow and as the LCAM in a 4222, in both circumstances I felt like the player was only playing half a game. When McGinn was further up the pitch, I didn’t feel the physical presence that the card looked like it had in it and he didn’t make enough creative runs to take advantage of his stamina. This doesn’t mean the card was ineffective however, I scored and created goals with the Scot at a clip of roughly .6 goal contributions per game.
Next up was the transition to Central Defensive Mid, I attempted this position change due to the Metagame involving holding midfielders at the time of writing. To try the card out as the CDM I placed him in a CDM role in a 4231 formation and the 41212. I felt that the card performed very well here, the pressing was outstanding, and I felt like McGinn constantly won the ball away from opponents. The 4 Star Weak Foot on the card made me feel able to take the odd long shot with the player too without too much positioning problems. McGinn was a good pivot midfielder in the 4231 as he had some defensive cover but in the 41212, I felt like he was out of position at times. This positioning was likely due to the High Attacking work rate on the card but was still bothering as CDM is supposed to be the rock in the midfield.
Lastly, I tried the card in a 442 at the Central Midfielder role. I had placed his instructions to those of a classic box to box midfielder and let him free roam the attacking third. The Central Midfielder role unlocked the card in an interesting way, it felt like I could dictate the style of play through the Scot. If I wanted to push the play forward I would simply take McGinn on a little run, If it was time to hold possession then he ran around completing passing triangles left and right, and If I had to hold the defensive line then it was pressing time. The card also contributed more from this area on the pitch as well clocking in at around a goal contribution a game. I also felt like I could change my midfield partner around him too which I am not usually comfortable with. The 442 had not been a formation I had considered before this review, but McGinn showed me what type of player it took to make it viable.
In summation, this card is much better than it is priced at and it honestly might show up on my FUT Champs bench for a couple weeks.
However, when using this card there are only two types of positioning I see as effective: The second CDM in a formation like the 352 or the 4231, The CM in the 532, 5212, 442, and 343. I think that this card represents a good value for a high-end fitness team or a way to link Andrew Robertson into a squad without having to settle for one of the Liverpool Midfield or having to buy Virgil Van Dijk. The card is valued at roughly 11,000 coins so even if you don’t love the card, you can discard it for a maximum loss of 1,000 coins. Although, I think that if used correctly this card will be a fixture in the club for quite a while