Can McGinn slide straight back in?

McGinn should play at Wembley

With the big derby game against Birmingham City approaching, Dean Smith has a bit of a selection headache. After battering Derby last weekend on Jack Grealish’s return, it will be difficult to drop anyone from that winning side.

John McGinn has finished his suspension and is once again available for selection. He has arguably been our best player so far this season. The question many will be asking is, will Smith find a way to get him back his side? Or should he sit on the bench and earn his position back?

Conor Hourihane

Should Hourihane make way for McGinn?If you believe McGinn should start, then for me, the obvious player to make way has to be Conor Hourihane. Although he has contributed to many goals over the past three seasons, he has struggled for form, until Derby.

I think he would have been dropped had McGinn had been available to make way for Grealish.

Some would argue that he should keep his spot following his performance and two goals against Derby. Some of the faithful might suggest that he doesn’t deserve to start because of his recent form, or lack of.

Glenn Whelan

On the flip side, Smith may opt for a more attacking option and drop Glenn Whelan. Before Grealish picked up his injury, a midfield three of Hourihane, McGinn and Grealish was Smith’s choice.

It worked well and saw Villa beat both Derby and Middlesbrough quite convincingly away from home.

Whelan, however, has been the shining light in a poor team of late. Despite stick from certain sections of the faithful, he has put in some fantastic performances.  It will be hard to ignore the stability and calmness he offers the side.

Selection headache

I personally feel that Hourihane was made scapegoat during January and February. He wasn’t great but neither was many other Villa players.

For me, as much as I believe he has looked solid lately, I would drop Whelan for McGinn this weekend. McGinn‘s energy levels are bottomless and vital for a game of this magnitude. Playing without a defensive midfielder seemed to be working well before Grealish’s injury, so hopefully, we can pick up from where we left off.

Do you want McGinn back in the side? If so, who makes way?

Have your say in the comments section below.



  1. I would leave the midfield as it was for the Derby game and drop McGinn in at left back.

    Hourihane looks decent when playing at “10” – as he was last week (the most advanced CM’er getting close to Tammy) with Jack at “8”. He is not a box to box midfielder in a 4-3-3 whereas Jack, McGinn and Lansbury are all comfortable in that role. Hourihane can play as the sitter in a 3, which can work with Jack and McGinn either side but Whelan looked very good against Derby and he also offers a bit more steel in a derby atmosphere!


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