By Gabriel Agbonlahor

29th Dec, 2020 | 8:00pm

'One of top 3 Villa players' - Exclusive: Agbonlahor in awe of 26-yr-old who's agreed new deal

Gabriel Agbonlahor has heaped praise on Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn after his display against Chelsea on Monday night.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the legendary former Villa striker insisted the Scotland international is back to his best after suffering a fractured ankle last December.

McGinn won 13 of his 19 duels against the Blues at Stamford Bridge, according to sofascore, as Villa recorded a credible 1-1 draw.

The 26-year-old has been an ever-present this season for Dean Smith’s side and has played a key role in a Villa side that have firmly established themselves as European contenders.

The former-Hibs ace missed six months of action with his ankle injury at the beginning of the year and only returned when the Premier League restarted in June.

“It took a few games for him to get back up to speed,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider.

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“You could tell he wasn’t as fit when he came back from injury but once he had those few games and got the rustiness out of his system, he’s not looked back since. 

“For me, he’s been up there as one of the top three players for Aston Villa. He does the dirty stuff that people don’t see – the tackling, the pressing.

“With his shot off the bar against Chelsea, it shows he’s got an eye for goal as well.

“Definitely, he’s been outstanding this season and that’s why I think Villa have tied him down to a new long-term deal.”

McGinn signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with the Midlands giants earlier this month.

He joined fellow key players Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings in committing his long-term future to the club.

In other news, an Aston Villa 26-year-old is in line for a January loan move as Dean Smith’s plan is revealed.