'I love him' - Exclusive: Whelan head over heels for hardly-seen Aston Villa player

Noel Whelan admits he is delighted to see midfielder John McGinn back playing for Aston Villa after his lengthy injury layoff.

The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists the 25-year-old is a joy to watch in the centre of the park.

The Villa ace missed nearly six months of football after suffering a broken ankle back in December, with the Premier League shutdown curtailing his plans to return to action.

With the top flight kicking off with Villa’s home clash against Sheffield United, McGinn was thrown back into the starting XI by Dean Smith and played 76 minutes before being subbed off.

Whelan insists that the Scotland international is a huge player for the Villans and admits he is over the moon to see him back in action.

Whelan told Football Insider: “I love him, I think he’s a great player, I really do. From watching him when he was at Villa last season, he’s got everything for a midfield player.

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“He’s got tenacity, energy, creativity, great on the ball, he can control the game, he’s got an eye for goal – he’s got so much quality there, I’m so glad he’s back because he really does improve Aston Villa.”

McGinn has played a total of 21 times across all competitions this season and has netted three goals and contributed two assists in attack.

He was partnered by Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz in the middle against Sheffield United and was replaced by Marvelous Nakamba from the bench.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton has tipped a 16-year-old to make a stunning debut this season.

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