Express & Star

Former Aston Villa favourite urging Jhon Duran to stay put

Jhon Duran has been told to stay and play his part in Villa’s Champions League adventure next season.


The Colombia international has scored eight goals in all competitions during his first full campaign in English football, despite mainly making do with appearances off the bench.

Duran was touted for a possible exit in January but Ron Vlaar, the former Villa defender, believes his best move would be to stay put and learn under Unai Emery.

“When he comes on he always tries to make a difference,” said Vlaar, who was at Villa Park to see Duran score a quick-fire double in Monday’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool.

“The Champions League is something he must want to play in. Villa have a big squad and a lot of players have played a role through the season.

“It would be nice for them to continue together and make some improvements to the team to make it even better – and keep going.”

Duran’s opportunities have been limited due to the excellent form of Ollie Watkins, who will head into the final match of the season at Crystal Palace on Saturday needing just one more goal to become the first Villa player to score 20 in a top flight season since 1981.

But Vlaar continued: “Duran has scored important goals throughout the season – now he has two in short notice.

“He is still only 20, so he is still a very young player. To be behind Ollie Watkins at that age is nothing to be ashamed of.

“Everybody knows how great Emery is, even from his past. He has proved what a great coach he is at other clubs as well.

“Wherever he is he makes players better and improves them. I don’t think many players will want to leave Aston Villa while he is here.