Express & Star

Double delight for Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins was the big winner as Villa celebrated qualifying for the Champions League at their end of season awards.

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The England international was crowned both players’ and supporters’ player of the season after a stunning campaign in which he has scored 27 goals in all competitions.

Jhon Duran won goal of the season for his strike in September’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, while Emi Martinez was given a special award recognising his achievement in being crowned the best goalkeeper in the world at last year’s Ballon D’Or awards.

But the main focus of the evening was elsewhere as Tottenham’s 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City secured a fourth place finish for Villa and a return to Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 1983.

Boss Unai Emery, his players and supporters watched events in north London unfold on a big screen during the awards ceremony in Villa Park’s Lower Grounds venue.

The final whistle sparked big celebrations with club captain John McGinn taking to the stage alongside defender Tyrone Mings, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on the opening day of the campaign during a 5-1 defeat at Newcastle.

“It’s been an amazing season, a mental season. Me and Tyrone were at the club in the Championship.

“Us two, baby Jacob and Kortney Hause are the only ones remaining. There are four of us here who were part of that Championship journey.

“We got promoted, got into the Premier League. We were seven points behind with four matches to play. We managed to stay in the league, kept building and have managed to achieve something we have not done in 40 years.

“On behalf of the players and staff we are over the moon and delighted.”