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John McGinn, or the storm as a footballer

A short ode to John McGinn

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

I really think that John McGinn is incredible. He’s something, I just don’t know what that something is. It’s the type of something that the singers sing about when there’s just no other words worth saying. Hell, there might not be any other words left to use.

Where do you start with a man like McGinn? Well, I’d like to think I can start here by laying out his best footballing trait. When we are talking about John McGinn we need to talk about aggression. There is nothing reckless nor dangerous about the aggression that John McGinn brings to the football pitch.

Picture the footballer, rolling his feet over the ball and progressing up the pitch. Then picture a claret frenzy descending upon him. Ankles grazed, toes caught, ball stolen. He descends upon a player and leaves, stealing it all and leaving a mark. It’s not always fair, but John McGinn is nature. It’s the wind stealing a plastic-cupped pint from your hand, you should have just held onto it tighter because you don’t make the type of rules that nature listens to. Nobody does. McGinn’s 2.2 tackles per game according to WhoScored put him head and shoulders above anyone else at Aston Villa and this is proven in a play-style that could have seen him miss critical games due to the accumulation of yellow cards.

It’s not all defensive aggression and this is where we lose all reference to nature. John McGinn receives the ball on the edge and buries his weight into a defender before dropping a shoulder and scooping the ball into an attacking direction. Locomotion that should be chased by black plumes of fogging smoke.

Villa’s midfield is full of talent. Glenn Whelan brings a general-like knowledge to Villa’s game. Picture him atop a tank and chewing a cigar and it doesn’t look out of place. He doesn’t need to be fast (relatively, he is) because he knows the plan and you’ve walked right into the traps detailed in that plan. Forget the coaches, Whelan probably made the plan himself. You’ve also got Conor Hourihane and the balance he brings - the coolness scraped of a glacier doused against a brimstone attitude. We should also make room for Jack Grealish and how it seems like he transforms the game of football into his own pinball table, but when you think of Villa’s midfield, theres a standout name. Right now, It belongs to John McGinn.