John McGinn seems almost immune to criticism in the Aston Villa midfield, when it’s only really his work rate that sets him apart.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
John McGinn has become a fan favourite at Aston Villa this season, having scored a couple of great goals for the club – but it’s his work rate that’s truly setting him apart from others at the club.
A number of outlets have questioned why McGinn isn’t getting some of the stick that his midfield partner Conor Hourihane is getting. If John McGinn skies a shot from outside the box, the fans appreciate it and start singing his song.
We’ve got McGinn… Super John McGinn…
But if Hourihane were to take that shot? Boos and jeers. It’s similar in the middle of the park too. Should Hourihane run in to trouble, he’s lambasted for turning around and playing the ball backwards. But McGinn does the same and there’s nothing from the crowd.
The only thing that’s setting the two players apart is work rate. McGinn evidently has a larger engine, more horsepower, or whatever vehicular related metaphor you’d rather we use, and can ‘helicopter run’ his way around the pitch for far longer before he’s knackered.
Comparatively, McGinn has two goals, and two assists less than Hourihane.
Defensively, John McGinn makes more tackles per game, with 2.2 made to Hourihane’s 1.4. McGinn also makes more interceptions. However, Hourihane makes more clearances, more blocks, and is dribbled past significantly less than the Scottish midfielder.
Looking at things on the other side of the pitch, John McGinn takes more shots on average, as well as making more key passes, completing more dribbles, and drawing more fouls. But, he’s also dispossessed more, and takes more bad touches per game than Hourihane does.
Hourihane makes more passes in general, and boats a nearly 8% better pass success rate than McGinn.
So looking at the above stats, why is one of the players being singled out for being a ‘hologram’ in games? Generally, they’re both prone to mistakes and they both have their positives about their game. Hourihane is a set-piece titan.
Realistically, it’s John McGinn’s work rate that sets him a part. He’s visible across the pitch more often, and the fans adore the ‘dog chasing ball’ approach that he brings. He puts the opposition team under pressure and forces them into mistakes. But, that doesn’t mean he’s immune to criticism, and has had games where he has ‘disappeared’ just like Conor Hourihane supposedly does.