‘Raging bull’ Why Manchester United would love to sign Aston Villa’s Irn-Bru-drinking midfield machine
He charged down the Charlton back line like a raging bull.
Eighty-two minutes were on the clock and Villa were in cruise control: 3-1 up and another pre-season victory in the bag.
But, far from finished, up stepped that game Glaswegian gladiator, super John McGinn.
The 24-year-old ran at Jake Forster-Caskey, telegraphed his all too casual pass before skipping past his midfield rival.
Forster-Caskey then seeked retribution and full on kneed him in the thigh in a desperate bid to clatter him. McGinn stayed on his feet and, at that point, knew exactly what he was going to do: to make goalkeeper Ben Amos sit down and to completely fool the Addicks back line. Even Charlton skipper Chris Solly had a pop, attempting to snap McGinn before the Villa man smashed it home.
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The following morning, though, Villa supporters almost choked on their bacon sandwich and spat out their coffee after seeing yet another McGinn to Manchester United headline as legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson ordered Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to snap up his fellow countryman.
Fellow Glaswegian Fergie, now 77, is reportedly close to McGinn’s grandad, Jack. The former Old Trafford boss still has a say in United dealings and wants Solksjaer to sign the scintillating Scotsman. Villa, meanwhile, obviously have other ideas and have apparently put a £50million price tag on his head to fend off any potential suitors.
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Deadline day next week – August 8 – marks exactly a year since McGinn signed for Villa for as little as £2.75million after then-boss Steve Bruce convinced the bullish midfielder to ditch Celtic over spot of dinner – and Villa fans should be eternally grateful for that. It’s arguably the best piece of business in Villa’s modern-day history, such was his form in claret and blue last season. That goal against Sheffield Wednesday when he struck a left-footed volley so sweet – the ball ping-ponging in off the crossbar – sent shockwaves around the entirety of B6.
More memorable moments followed but, at Wembley, it just had to be McGinn again, showing his bull-like braveness to put his head where it hurts to get his noggin on the ball and to direct it into the empty net. Derby’s Kelle Roos didn’t want to know but McGinn did. The Villa maestro even nutted the Wembley turf during the wild celebrations when he conducted a poor man’s Jurgen Klinsmann dive in front of the claret and blue faithful before being mobbed by his Villa teammates to all but secure promotion.
After soaking up the sun in Benidorm before a quick break away in Dubai, this down-to-earth wee fella has returned back to Bodymoor Heath in fine form – and boy does he look in the mood for it as the Premier League edges closer and closer.
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Manchester United could yet come calling given Paul Pogba’s apparent lack of interest in staying at Old Trafford. Real Madrid are reportedly preparing a £145million bid for the Frenchman who appears set on a move away. United, though, can keep their mitts well and truly off McGinn, a man who, for me, would go straight into their midfield and would be a throwback of a player Manchester fans craved and loved: think of your Roy Keanes, Bryan Robsons, Nicky Butts and Paul Inces. McGinn plays in the very same way: determined, dogged and devilish.
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The man with the iron lungs undoubtedly has a bigger heart than £290,000-a-week Pogba and has done so much more in a Villa shirt than Fred, Andreas Pereira and fellow countryman Scott McTominay combined have in United red.
The kid born and raised in the concrete Glasgow jungle is a lion, just like the one he beats on his chest after a brilliant Villa Park victory. McGinn’s not interested in the fame and fortune, he’s an Irn-Bru-drinking midfield machine more than happy to rip it up with his pal Jack Grealish this season. United fans: you’d absolutely love him but he isn’t going anywhere!