Aston Villa’s ‘smart’ prospect rewarded after shining on loan in Ligue 2
Aston Villa have an array of talent rising through the academy and earning their stripes in the English Football League, with 21-year-old Finn Azaz one of them.
Azaz was signed from West Bromwich Albion and immediately loaned out to League Two side Newport County. On signing for Villa, academy manager Mark Harrison said: “Finn is a smart, creative, technically astute and attacking-minded player who went on a successful loan spell at Cheltenham last year.
“When we were informed that he was available on a free transfer and we discussed possible transfers to other clubs, we decided to pursue his signing, and we are delighted that he has signed for us.
The young midfielder has made 26 appearances this season, with his biggest impact coming in January, when he registered three assists and helped his side qualify for the play-offs.
The Villa’s owner commented on winning the award, where he said, “I was quite surprised when I got the text saying I won the award, and it’s really nice to get this recognition.
“I feel like I played well and the team did well, so that’s good for Newport and Villa as well.
“I’m not going to dwell on that too much because I have to focus on the next few games and keep playing at a high level for Newport, but it feels really good to win the award.”
He then went on to say: “Having played in Ligue 2 for a season and a half now, I know how difficult it is to get four wins in one go.
“I was involved in three of the wins but didn’t play in the game at Leyton Orient and they came away with a really big away result which is a testament to the team.
“When you play in a team that plays well and wins games, it becomes easier to grow as an individual, and that’s what happened for me. I rely a lot on the service of my teammates for me. ‘to get the ball into the areas I want, so the other guys were a big part of my win.”
Azaz initially struggled to gain fitness while working under former Newport boss Michael Flynn. However, the appointment of James Rowberry in October has seen a resurgence in form for the midfielder, who is now thriving and hopes to continue to succeed at the club.
If Azaz continues to progress at Newport and helps promote his side to Ligue 1, he could follow in the footsteps of Jacob Ramsey and Carney Chukwuemeka as another young midfield prospect catching Gerrard’s eye.
READ MORE: Aston Villa prospect could save Steven Gerrard millions in summer transfer window
READ MORE: Dean Smith reveals Jack Grealish’s state of mind after talks with ex-Villa captain