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‘Dynamic driving force’: Media laud 36-cap Aston Villa gem for ‘unlucky’ Euro 2020 display

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn has been lauded by his national media after playing a starring role for Scotland in defeat to Croatia at Euro 2020.

The Tartan Army were knocked out of the European Championship after a 3-1 loss at Hampden Park on Wednesday night. Both sides needed a win to reach the Last 16, but it was the visiting side who progressed.

Nikola Vlasic broke the deadlock early in the first half before a thumping strike from Callum McGregor drew the score level. But Croatia would edge the win in the second period after a wonderful goal from Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic.

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McGinn had chances to find the back of the net and came close to teeing Che Adams up. The Aston Villa gem was at the heart of most of Scotland’s better moments, dangling chances on the end of a stick longing for someone to bite.

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And Glasgow Live lauded McGinn for the midfielder’s display against Croatia. They awarded the 36-cap star their Man of the Match, and noted: “Scotland’s best player, got into good positions and perhaps should have scored.”

The Daily Record also praised McGinn for his efforts on Wednesday night, but awarded McGregor their top score. They wrote: “Brilliant teasing cross in the opening minutes had [Dominik] Livakovic flapping and only just evaded Adams.

“Opted to nod across goal rather than shoot at the back post moments later as Adams again was inches away from converting. Dynamic driving force and so unlucky not to stab a [Stuart] Armstrong cross home on the hour mark.”

TBR’s view: Aston Villa quietly pleased with McGinn exit

Aston Villa will be glad McGinn played well on the international stage but will be quietly pleased by Scotland’s exit. The 26-year-old played all 270 minutes for Steve Clarke at Euro 2020, plus 90 minutes in a pre-tournament friendly.

He will now be able to have a slightly extended break before returning for pre-season training next month. And McGinn certainly needs one, having played all but 90 minutes over the last Premier League season for Aston Villa.

The only top-flight match that McGinn sat out last term came in January when suspended as Aston Villa beat Newcastle. Only Emiliano Martinez (3,420) and Matt Target (3,405) played more minutes than McGinn (3,330), as well.

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