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Ex-junior coach delighted seeing McGinn succeed with Aston Villa and Scotland

A former junior coach of Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn is delighted seeing him star for club and country.

McGinn was a seven-year-old when he first came under the tutelage of David Longwell, in the academy at St Mirren, in his native Scotland.

Longwell, now first-team coach at Shrewsbury Town, recalled his days with McGinn the younger north of the border.

“I had John since he was seven," said Longwell to the Express & Star. “It is incredible to see boys like that progress coming from a small provincial club like St Mirren and then playing at that level.

“Whether it be Premier League or playing at the highest level at the European Championships."

Longwell said McGinn's lack of stature as a youngster did not ever look like being a barrier to his success, such was the youngster's desire.

“He is a strong character John," added Longwell. “When he was younger it took him a long time to grow.

“He was small and his body was growing at different stages. It was tough for him to try to deal with that.

“But I think it shows how strong a character he is that he has come through and just kept working. He is great type and he plays the game with a hunger and a desire. He is a great example to anybody. The biggest credit to him is he has never changed and he is still the same humble young man he has always been.

“He even sent me a Scotland top last year out of the blue – we have never asked for anything. It epitomises who he is as a person and he comes from a great family and those values he has been given have taken him through his whole life and he still has them to this day."

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Paul Vegas

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