John McGinn has been flying for Aston Villa in the early stages of this campaign and he should start for Scotland tonight.
The Scots take on Russia in Moscow in what will be a daunting task given how the last game played out. It finished 2-1 to Russia, but it really could’ve been three or four.
If Scotland are to have any chance of winning, McGinn has to feature.
McGinn hasn’t nailed down a Scotland spot
Given the form that he’s in down south, calling for McGinn to start seems like a very obvious thing to do. The midfielder has struggled to nail down a Scotland spot under Steve Clarke though.
He has started just twice for Clarke, becoming an 86th minute substitute and an unused squad member in other matches under the new manager.
One of his starts came against Russia though and McGinn was highly effective. His composure on the ball was brilliant, linking midfield to attack well with neat passing.
The Villains battler won tackles in the middle too before netting Scotland’s opener. It was a really energetic display, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see him hooked after the hour mark.
McGinn was able to put the Russia midfield under pressure and that is needed again tonight. One of Russia’s key strengths in the last game was getting time and space on the ball.
It allowed them to exploit Scotland down the flanks. With McGinn in midfield, that isn’t quite as simple.
McGinn’s also racking up some quality stats in the Premier League. He averages 3.3 tackles a game, three shots per game and an 80.2% pass completion rate (WhoScored). He also has three goals in eight league games from midfield, which isn’t bad.
Clarke has to make sure McGinn is in from the start tonight.