By Gabriel Agbonlahor

18th Dec, 2020 | 7:00am

'The first player I'd want to sign' - Exclusive: Agbonlahor wowed by huge Villa development

Gabriel Agbonlahor has heaped praise on Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn after he signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with the club.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer claimed he would have told McGinn to write whatever he wants on the contract if he was in charge of negotiations.

McGinn became the latest Aston Villa star to commit his long-term future to Aston Villa last week following Tyrone Mings and club captain Jack Grealish.

The trio have all signed deals in recent months keeping them at Villa Park until at least the summer of 2025.

McGinn has been an ever-present in Dean Smith’s side this season and Agbonlahor cannot overstress his influence on the side.

He told Football Insider“I think John McGinn is that important I would have given him the contract and told him to write whatever he wanted on it.

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“He’s been so important since he joined the club, he’s a manager’s dream.

“If I was a manager he’d be the first name on the team sheet and the first player I’d want to sign.

“He works hard, he tackles, he attacks, he can score goals, he doesn’t miss a game.

“He’s so important to that Aston Villa midfield so to get him tied down is great news for the club.

“I’m sure in seasons to come he’ll be a great player for the club.”

McGinn moved to Villa Park from Hibernian in the summer of 2018 despite interest from Scottish giants Celtic.

He has scored 11 goals and contributed 17 assists in 84 games across all competitions for the Villains.

In other news, Kevin Phillips has claimed an Aston Villa teenager may be the next Wayne Rooney.