Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn has said to the Express and Star that prior to the start of the season, he was worried about being able to compete with his teammates upon his arrival.

John McGinn joined Aston Villa from Scottish side Hibernian last summer and has gone on to be a revelation at Villa Park. He has netted eight goals and provided 12 assists in 47 games since his arrival, winning the supporters’ player of the year and players’ player of the year.

Now, speaking ahead of Villa’s Championship play-off final against Derby County, McGinn has admitted that he arrived at Villa Park nervous about competing with his teammates for a place in the side.

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“When I signed I didn’t expect to be in right away. The manager (Steve Bruce) made me aware there were a lot of top midfield players here and that I had to prove myself.

“My first couple of days here weren’t great, in training I thought ‘I don’t know if I can compete here’. But the manager had the confidence to fling me in against Wigan and it went from there.”

McGinn has also said that he was left “nervous and anxious” upon Steve Bruce’s sacking, worried that he would work for the new manager. However, he continued his strong start to the season and has gone on to star for Dean Smith.

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“Obviously people will have their own opinions but I was worried,” he added. “I thought ‘Is the new guy going to like me?’

“We were linked with Thierry Henry at the time and I didn’t know whether he liked Scottish players!

“I was intrigued and waiting to see what was to come when he (Smith) arrived. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous and anxious to see if I was his kind of player.

“My position changed slightly when he came in, I played a little bit higher up and after a couple of weeks he pulled me and said ‘I don’t think you realise how good you can be’ which was great to hear from a new manager.

“He said he was the first to admit he didn’t know a lot about me but assured me that I would be a big part of his plans. That was brilliant for me to hear that from him.”

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Writer for The72 and currently studying at the University of Lincoln. Based in Peterborough/ Lincoln and often writing about Peterborough United amongst other Championship and League One clubs.