He is the Aston Villa loanee that few supporters have heard of. Youngster Finn Azaz arrived from the Under-23s of West Brom last summer before being immediately loaned out to Newport County in League Two.
The 21-year-old has really burst onto the scene at Rodney Parade this season and last night scored in the second game against Carlisle United to take his tally to six goals from 25 starts. It was also Azaz’s third in his last five games.
“Eventually he will be quality in the Premier League, I’m sure he will get there,” Newport manager James Rowberry said earlier this season, the Villa ace spearheading the promotion of the Premier League. Exiles.
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“Finn would be up there but will probably never be better than Peter Whittingham, who is the best technical player I’ve worked with,” Rowberry added, before detailing the attacking midfielder’s willingness to show more composure in the final third.
Azaz has six goals and six assists for County and continues to draw rave reviews. After another star and goal last night, the South Wales Argus said: “Cheltenham fans would be amazed at the development of the midfielder, who spent last season on loan at Robins from West Brom.
“He moved to Aston Villa in the summer, spent a few days there, then headed to Newport. Azaz was a regular in the Cheltenham side during their title success, but has become a key figure for the exiled.
“His influence is demonstrated by the fact that it wouldn’t be a shock if he won the County Player of the Season award ahead of 25-goal striker Dom Telford. Azaz’s strike in the Carlisle win was sumptuous, a left-footed finish from a calm, precise reduction from Lewis Collins.
“Azaz is now in control and producing some telling moments in the final third. He could have scored a hat-trick at Carlisle and maybe that’s what manager James Rowberry will tell him.
“The 21-year-old has also developed his defensive game and appears to be physically stronger. It would be a surprise if there are not Championship clubs already in contact with Villa to loan out the brilliant prospect next season.”
The Villa d’Azaz contract situation is unknown. But, given his form, head coach Steven Gerrard may well have a look at the 6ft1in Londoner during pre-season. It certainly deserved a crack at Bodymoor Heath during the summer months.
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Azaz and Newport are currently third in Ligue 2 with nine games remaining. The top three teams will automatically be promoted to League One. Azaz plays as number 10 in Newport’s 4-4-2 diamond system.
Would you like to see Azaz involved at Aston Villa next season? Let us know in the comments section below.