John McGinn says he laughed when he heard about rumours of a move to Manchester United.
Having played a key role in Aston Vill’s promotion back to the Premier League last season, the midfielder was linked with a surprise switch to Old Trafford over the summer before committing his long-term future to the Midlands club.
The Scotland international admits he was baffled at the United speculation, and says he has plenty of work still to do to prove he is good enough to mix it with the best.
“I had a little chuckle at it to be honest. I’m sure a lot of people did,” said McGinn, who scored in Villa’s Championship play-off final win over Derby.
“It is up to me to go and prove it is justified. At that point my whole mindset was on Villa and being successful here.
“I have still got so much left to learn and prove. In the environment here I am appreciated.
“I’m loved and respected by everyone. There is no better feeling. I still have to pinch myself driving in. I feel like one of the main players here.
“There really is no better feeling. I still need to improve and get better.
“To have any speculation lingering about isn’t what you want. I’m just glad to be settled and to focus on the next five years.”
Villa signed 12 new players during pre-season in a spending spree of £130million, including new £22m record buy Wesley from Club Brugge.
Boss Dean Smith has revamped his squad after they ended a three-year Premier League exile and McGinn knows the jury is out.
He said: “Honestly? I am not sure. There are a lot of new signings. A lot of boys have had to get their visas and stuff sorted, get used to the cuisine in Birmingham and the temperature. It took me seven months to get used to it.
“They are nice lads, no egos, I think that is important with Villa being in the Premier League.
“Speaking to some of the experienced boys they all say Villa had a reputation for bad characters and big egos.
“I don’t think we have that now. It is an important trait to have for a hard-working club. I think they have recruited well in that sense.”
Tottenham vs Aston Villa is live on talkSPORT on Saturday – one of three Premier League commentaries on GameDay