'Just unreal' - Exclusive: Whelan blown away by 'integral' Aston Villa star v Tottenham
Noel Whelan has insisted that Aston Villa John McGinn is not going to struggle in the Premier League after making his top-flight debut against Tottenham on Saturday.
The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that the Scottish international proved his immense worth the Villans with his performance on the opening day, grabbing the opening goal in a 3-1 defeat to the north Londoners.
A debut goal for Tanguy Ndombele, as well as a brace from Harry Kane, ensured that it was the top four regulars who secured all three points despite a valiant display from Dean Smith’s men.
It was McGinn’s goal-scoring performance which caught the eye of Whelan as he insisted the 24-year-old would be perfectly comfortable having made the step up from Championship to Premier League.
“He’s just showed how integral he is for Aston Villa,” Whelan told Football Insider.
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“His work rate, his desire, his tackling ability, his strength in the midfield area, his creativity and he’s scoring goals. The run was just unreal, really.
“To catch up and realise that Wesley was battling away there with Sanchez, to anticipate the ball in behind, great first touch, little dummy and then a sweet finish past the goalkeeper. You look at him and you think: ‘Yeah, he’s not going to struggle with his ability in the Premier League.”
McGinn, who joined Villa from Hibernian in the summer of 2018, was a mainstay for the club on the way to Championship play-off glory, scoring in the final against Derby County.
The Scot was partnered alongside Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane in the middle of the park, with the likes of new signing Douglas Luiz and Henri Lansbury waiting in the wings.