By Graham Hill
JOHN McGinn has told Eden Hazard to ‘save his legs for Real Madrid’ this week.
And he says Hazard will be a ‘big miss’ to the Premier League ahead of Villa’s top flight return in August.
The non-stop Villa midfielder’s season is still going and he heads to Belgium on Tuesday night in Scotland’s latest Euro 2020 qualifier.
McGinn believes the Scots kept their campaign alive with a late winner from West Brom’s Ollie Burke against Cyprus on Saturday.
But he says Belgium on their own turf will be a different proposition.
Hazard will be playing against McGinn ahead of his unveiling in Madrid following a £130million move to Real from Chelsea.
McGinn told Sky Sports: “Belgium have dangers all over the park. Eden Hazard’s just signed for Real Madrid, that emphasises how strong a squad they are.
“He’s definitely in the top three or four players in the world.
“I played against him at Hampden once before and he was top drawer.
“He fully deserved his move to Real Madrid. I think he’ll be a big miss to the Premier League but at £130m, I hope he saves his legs for La Liga campaign!
“I am sure Belgium are still number one in the world so we need to respect them but at the same time try to impact on them. They are top players but you want to test yourself against the best.
“If we want to get to the finals of a major tournament we are going to have to take points off a team like Belgium.”
Ex-Villa coach Steve Clarke’s first game in charge saw the pressure on him after the Scots had lost to Kazakhstan in their opening Group I fixture, before beating San Marino.
Skipper Andy Robertson gave them the lead in the second half before Cyprus equalised with three minutes remaining.
However, sub Burke, with his first senior Scotland goal, grabbed the lead back moments later.
McGinn said: ”We were moments away from our campaign ending really.
”We had to show character. The manager is clear on how important 14 players are on a match day and Oli’s winner was crucial for us
“I think everyone knew how important the game was and it started getting a little bit tense towards the end but we showed great character. So it has kept us going. We are definitely in it now.
“We know how difficult the games coming up are. We are under no illusions as to how difficult Belgium and Russia will be. We start with Belgium on Tuesday night and we will do whatever we can to get something from it.”