By Football Insider speaking to Jackie McNamara

22nd Nov, 2019 | 11:04am

Exclusive: Pundit raves over 'Fantastic' Villa star he tips for big role on int'l stage

Jackie McNamara says that Scotland can build around Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn after his impressive performances on the international stage.

The former Celtic and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the 25-year-old has flourished in his attacking midfield role under Steve Clarke, with all seven of his international goals coming in the last six games.

Having hit a hat-trick against San Marino in the last international break, the Villa ace scored and assisted against Cyprus before striking twice against Kazakhstan to help his country to two more wins.

McNamara says that having Celtic and Rangers stars Callum McGregor and Ryan Jack behind him gives him the license to push on and that he has a major part to play in Scotland’s future success.

McNamara told Football Insider: “He’s been fantastic in that role, he’s got the freedom to push forward with Ryan Jack and McGregor there behind him. We can build around him.

“He’s arriving late into the box and come up with a couple of great finishes. The one at the weekend, the timing of it and a great finish, it was a difficult one to take, and the one the other night again.

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“He’s kept his form going since he’s moved down there to England, he’s done really well.”

The Aston Villa ace has been a revelation for Dean Smith’s men, playing a crucial role in the club’s promotion-winning campaign in the Championship and remaining a mainstay in the side in the Premier League.

He has a total of 58 games under his belt for the Midlands outfit, as well as 21 caps to his name for Scotland.

In other Aston Villa news, Darren Bent has tipped Dean Smith to axe a mainstay from his side against Newcastle United after a behind-the-scenes sighting.