With the expected return of a heavily caveated Premier League football fixture for Aston Villa on Wednesday evening as we welcome Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United to an empty Villa Park, our eyes are obviously on survival and making that game in hand count so we lift ourselves back out of the relegation zone – one big boost in our favour is the return to fitness of midfielder John McGinn.
Our little Scottish meatball has been a big miss since his last game in late December, even if he hasn’t quite hit the heights of form of the 2018/19 campaign, and although I suspect head coach Dean Smith was being slightly coy, he has questioned whether or not it would be the right decision to throw him straight back in during his pre-game chats.
“It’s great to have John back but I have to manage him accordingly. It’s easy for me to go and throw him straight into the battle, knowing the sort of lad he is. But the other players have had 14 weeks without a game and John has had six months without a game. He has managed to get minutes in both the Albion and Leicester games but I have to be a little bit mindful of where he’s been and where he’s come from. He’s a top player but on top of being a top player, he’s a top character in that dressing room and gives everyone a boost by being the person he is.”
Former player Alan Hutton believes it’s a no brainer when it comes to him returning to the starting XI for this match, and with our former Cafu expecting McGinn to be playing up behind the scenes to ensure his selection, he feels Smith’s ‘management’ will be a decision on when to take him off as opposed to anything else.
“He’ll be absolutely desperate to play, I know him far too well. He’ll be giving everything in training, he’ll be testing the manager, telling him he’s ready, just annoying him in the hope that he plays. I think the manager’s taken the right stance, I think you do have to be careful but as well you know he’s one of the top players and you want him playing so I just wonder if he will go ahead and he will play him. I think he’ll have one eye on him in that he can bring him off after 50, 60 minutes.”
Bring Him On Second Half
This one is a true no brainer isn’t it, McGinn starts.