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McGinn’s ‘impressive’ bum is loved by Barcelona icon and could star at Euro 2024

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Iconic footballers have iconic trademarks.

Cristiano Ronaldo has his celebration, Lionel Messi has his left foot, for Ronaldo Nazario it was the 2002 haircut. For John McGinn… it’s his backside.

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McGinn is looking to be Scotland’s hero at Euro 2024Credit: Getty

Now, McGinn may not be at that Ballon d’Or winner level, but he has the chance to at least become as legendary back home in Scotland this summer, and if he does, it will be with thanks to his behind.

The midfielder heads to Euro 2024 as his country’s form player. Only Moussa Diaby racked up more than his 51 appearances for Aston Villa this season, and thanks to his performances they will be playing Champions League football next season.

Villa’s incredible fourth-place Premier League finish has them back in the top tier of European football for the first time since 1983, and captain McGinn has been integral, playing multiple roles during the season.

On top of that he has nine goals and seven assists to boot.

He scored highlight goals in wins over Arsenal and Manchester United, and in Europe he was a constant as Unai Emery guided his troops to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

Signed from Hibernian in 2018 for a miserly £2.7million, McGinn represents one of Villa’s greatest-ever deals, and after being named captain in 2022, he’s even garnered links to the league’s top sides.

Villa’s incredible gain has clearly benefited Scotland too. The nation continues to grow under Steve Clarke, and McGinn is one of his stalwarts.

In their second straight European Championship, Scotland are looking to improve on their solitary point from Euro 2020, and there are signs they can do that, having excelled in qualifying.

McGinn goes into Euro 2024 on the back of a stellar season with Aston Villa

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McGinn goes into Euro 2024 on the back of a stellar season with Aston VillaCredit: Getty

Clarke’s side not only beat a tough Erling Haaland-led Norway to qualify, but they also downed giants Spain with a remarkable 2-0 win back in March 2023.

Almost ever-present in his nation’s improvement, McGinn could well enter the country’s top 10 for most appearances this summer, but he’s already joint-sixth in goals having scored 18 in 65 caps.

Frankie Boyle features in chaotic party video as Scotland national team announce their squad for Euro 2024

But what makes McGinn not only one of the Premier League’s best, but a must-watch at the Euros? Well, it’s over to Manchester City and Barcelona legend Yaya Toure to explain.

“What impressed me in that game was how disciplined John McGinn was in midfield, taking the ball from the defence and protecting it from England players before making the pass,” the midfield great explained after a 0-0 draw with England at Euro 2020..

McGinn's bum thrilled Yaya Toure at Euro 2020 - but not Declan Rice

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McGinn’s bum thrilled Yaya Toure at Euro 2020 – but not Declan RiceCredit: Getty

“If you look at a picture of McGinn, you can see he has very powerful legs and hips.

“There were times where you could see him get the ball with his back to an England player, smell the danger was coming and then use his bum to shield the ball from them.

“The bum is important as it can create a moment of space between you and another player, so you have more time with the ball.”

Toure’s right too, even the least observant of football watchers just have to see one Villa or Scotland match and you’ll soon notice how brilliant McGinn is at shielding the ball. He uses his physique to maintain possession, and even block off defenders to let forwards get to work.

There are clearly less blatant advantages too, with McGinn able to generate extraordinary power on a number of stunning long-range shots.

For example, his world-class strike against Sheffield Wednesday in 2018 has gone down in Championship folklore and has even been dubbed ‘the perfect volley’.

Toure picked up on McGinn’s greatest asset early, but it’s since become quite the trademark.

Discussing the constant comments about how he uses it to continually thwart opponents and retain possession, McGinn joked: “I always say if I didn’t have my backside I’d be at Yeovil or something. No disrespect to Yeovil.

“It’s something I try to use to my strengths. I’m not the same as any midfield player down in the Premier League.

“I’m not as neat and tidy as them all. I’m certainly different and I think that’s helped me in my career. I try and stay unique.

“There’s been certain coaches throughout my career that have tried to coach it out me, but I’ve got to believe in it. The boys have a laugh about it here. ‘Get that backside away from me’ and all that.

“But if you can use it for a goal or to help the team in a wee duel, it’s all for the better.”

One of the coaches to try and limit his greatest asset was former Scotland coach Alex McLeish, with international teammate Charlie Mulgrew recalling that before one game against Mexico, he saw McLeish pull McGinn aside before telling him: “Stop doing that arse thing.”

McGinn's backside can hold of defenders with ease

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McGinn’s backside can hold of defenders with easeCredit: Getty

It’s a funny story, but probably one that knocked McGinn’s confidence as his uniqueness is clearly something he prides himself on and excels at.

It also may not be the biggest coincidence that McLeish didn’t last much longer as Scotland coach, while the midfielder has gone on to far bigger and better things.

Thankfully for him, both Clarke and Emery clearly realise what they’ve got, even if it’s not the most classy of topics.

The goals certainly are classy, though, as are the wins.

Now Scotland face a battle to qualify from a group containing Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland.

And any success will likely be down to McGinn and his most unique of footballing trademarks.

Euro 2024 starts on Friday and talkSPORT will bring you live coverage of every match.

Follow all the latest news in our rolling live daily blog.

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