John McGinn has expressed his pride at being named Aston Villa captain and revealed he spoke with ex-Villa skipper Jack Grealish after being handed the role.
The Scotland international was given the armband by manager Steven Gerrard this summer replacing teammate Tyrone Mings and McGinn admitted the decision took him by surprise.
“The day it was announced, I found out in the afternoon. The manager called me in and I was a bit worried about what he was going to say,” McGinn told former Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor in an exclusive interview for talkSPORT.
“Sometimes it’s not always a good thing to be called up to the manager’s office but obviously it was an incredibly proud day for me and my family.
“I’ve experienced a lot with this club, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs but it’s a club that gets under your skin.”
McGinn moved to Villa Park from Scottish side Hibernian in 2018 and quickly became a fan favourite.
The hard-working midfielder scored the winning goal in the 2019 Championship play-off final as Villa made their return to the top flight after three years in the second tier.
McGinn admits that after four years in England he now feels settled at Villa Park and has learned plenty from his three predecessors that he will take into his new captaincy role.
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“I feel settled here and I feel fortunate. When I joined, I sat next to an amazing captain in James Chester who I learned a lot from. He wasn’t a shouter, he didn’t need to shout because he was so well respected,” McGinn said.
“He led by example in the way he just went about on a daily basis, the way he treated people. So I learned alot from that.
” I learned a lot from Jack [Grealish] just playing his own game and taking games by the scruff of the neck and then Tyrone [Mings] with his leadership skills. The three of them have given me so much advice. I‘ve spoken to all three.”
Despite plenty of advice coming his way, the 27-year-old knows that he has to put his own stamp on the captaincy and remain true to himself – something Gerrard has advised him to do.
“It’s important to be myself and take a little bit out of everyone. But I’m not going to start changing, the manager did mention that.
“He said ‘There’s a reason why I’ve given you the responsibility and that’s to be yourself, don’t change, don’t think you have to start doing motivational speeches’, which isn’t me anyway.
“It’s certainly a day, I’ll never forget but it has been overshadowed by disappointment this week [defeat at Bournemouth]. I’m really keen to become a successful captain at Villa, not someone who just wears it [armband] for the sake of it.
“I won’t take it for granted and I hope to be part of a successful team and lead by the way I play.”
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