By Phil Jennings
JOHN McGinn admits he has taken advantage of some Premier League know-how before today’s opening day clash at Tottenham.
Twelve months ago, McGinn was a low profile £2.7million signing from Hibernian.
Now he is Villa’s player of the year and heads to North London with a five-year deal under his belt.
But it has not gone to the Scotland midfielder’s head – quite the opposite in fact.
And McGinn says he has tapped up a couple of players who have been there and done it.
McGinn told reporters: “I’ve spoken to a lot of the boys who have been there and played there. I speak to Jack Grealish and Alan Hutton who spent most of his career there.
“It’s nice when people like that think highly of you but the main thing for me is to become established in the Premier League.
“If you set your standards high and then fail in the Premier League, it’s no use.
“I think I am going in with my eyes open. I love football so I watched a lot of the games last year. You see the intensity. If you make a mistake it is punished instantly.
“They tell you their experiences and you just want to take little bits of it.
“Even though I started pretty well at Villa I was still making rookie mistakes, while I was trying to get used to the league and physicality and stuff.
“As it went along, I started to improve and the mistakes became fewer.
“There’s still a lot to come. I don’t think you are ever polished or the full article.
“Hopefully I can get there as soon as possible and become the guy I was for Villa in the Championship in the Premier League.”
McGinn added that summer links with Manchester United did not turn his head.
He added: “I had a little chuckle at it to be honest. I’m sure a lot of people did. It’s nice of course and I suppose it shows how well I’ve done.
“But it is up to me to go and prove it is justified. I never had any intention of leaving this place. My whole mindset has been on Villa and being successful here.
“I’ve still got so much left to learn and prove. In the environment here I am appreciated. I’m loved and respected by everyone. There’s no better feeling. I still have to pinch myself driving in.”