Alex McLeish has claimed that the delay in action caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has proved to be an inadvertent “blessing” for Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Villa boss hailed the Scotland international for bouncing back from his injury woes, and for having “raised the bar” in recent seasons.

The 25-year-old missed a considerable portion of the 2019/20 campaign after suffering a fractured ankle in December, and only returned to action in June when the Premier League was allowed to resume under Project Restart.

Ordinarily, his absence would have ruled him out of Scotland’s must-win European Championship qualifier against Israel, but McGinn was able to feature in the rescheduled clash on Thursday evening.

And McLeish is thankful to see the energetic talent back in action.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “The Covid-19 delay has been horrendous for a lot of reasons, but it was good for the reason that it allowed John McGinn to get himself back to full fitness again.

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“Scotland might have had to play this game during the period he was injured, so that was a blessing, if you’re going to take one positive out of it.

“His performance [in Villa’s 7-2 win] against Liverpool – you can see the massive increase in vitality and confidence that he’s got since coming back.

“McGinn has raised the bar.”

McGinn was a vital member of Dean Smith’s side last season prior to his spell on the sidelines, starting every Premier League game before suffering his injury against Southampton on December 21st.

In total, he registered 28 top flight appearances, recording three goals and three assists.

In other news, three senior Aston Villa stars are set to leave in the coming days.