Aston Villa fans finally have something to celebrate in 2016 after the Claret and Blue secured victory on the annual Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament.
The European Cup winners may have endured a miserable season in the Premier League, culminating in relegation from the English top flight but in the Far East they continue to impress.
Held over the weekend of May 20-22, the tournament featured several familiar sides from the Premier League with West Ham, Newcastle, Leicester and Stoke also sending teams to take part in the competition.
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And while the Potters and Foxes fared well, claiming the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Shield and Plate respectively, it was Villa who took centre stage.
2-0 victors over West Ham in the final of the competition, that win saw Aston Villa maintain a 100 per cent record across the competition, with the Claret and Blue winning six games while conceding just one goal along the way.
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Their triumph maintained Villa's impressive run in the competition, with the Midlands accumulating six Soccer Sevens titles to date – a record for the competition – and their first since 2010.
Coached by Gordon Cowans, the success could also spell good news for Villa's future with several young stars staking a claim for inclusion in the club's first-team plans next season in the Championship.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, a youngster previously tipped to break into the first-team under Tim Sherwood, was a standout performer and one of the goalscorers in the 2-0 win over West Ham.
Meanwhile, fellow striker Harry McKirdy claimed the competition's top scorer award after bagging six goals across the six games – including one against the Hammers.
“It’s brilliant, we’ve won every game and only conceded one goal,” he told the tournament's official website.
“All the boys have been unbelievable; we were the best team here so we deserved what we got.”
Fellow Villa youngster and sevens captain Khalid Abdo also impressed, taking home the Hong Kong FC Citi Soccer Sevens MVP award for his efforts.
“We performed very well in the whole tournament and I feel very proud of the team,” he said.
If Aston Villa can show half the team spirit and determination next season, then an immediate Premier League return looks probable.
Should some of these Villa youngsters be given a chance to shine in the Championship? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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