Villa star man ruled out of Canaries’ Boxing Day clash
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Aston Villa’s influential midfielder John McGinn faces three months on the sidelines after fracturing his ankle in Saturday’s 3-1 Premier League defeat to Southampton - with Norwich City the next visitors to Villa Park on Boxing Day.
Villa confirmed the injury body blow on Sunday lunchtime, after scans revealed the extent of the damage after appearing to catch his studs in the turf tackling Southampton's Cedric Soares.
The Scottish international, who was a key figure in Villa's surge to the Championship play-off final, was impressive in the 5-1 away win for Dean Smith's side at Carrow Road in October.
But Villa have failed to build on that thumping away victory and sit one place and three points ahead of Daniel Farke's squad in the relegation zone.
England international defender Tyrone Mings has also missed the past three games with a hamstring injury.
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Smith feared the worst on the extent of McGinn's injury immediately after Saturday's disappointing home defeat.
"It doesn't look good. He got his studs caught in the turf," he said, quoted on Villa's official site. "John got ahead of their centre-half and he brings him down. We should get a free-kick, but we don't.
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"John gets frustrated and starts chasing the ball and unfortunately gets injured in front of us in the dugout.
"The players have to take responsibility at times and so do I. We've conceded seven in the last two home games.
"We were very poor defensively against Leicester, but today was more individual mistakes with the goals.
"There are certainly elements that we need to get better at defensively and we have to do that quickly.
"The players know the situation because they all read the press and social media. They know where we're at and what we're doing but sometimes they have to go out and prove they're Premier League players.
"They're Premier League players and I'm a Premier League manager. We have to go out and make sure we're more responsible in our performances."