They beat Chelsea 2-0 in Como courtesy of a penalty brace from Graham Burke
Aston Villa, coached by former Chelsea player Tony McAndrew , had to weather a storm or two every now and again in the first half but overall were deserving winners; with Callum Robinson in particular deserving special praise for his superb performance as the roaming striker in this special batch of Villa youngsters.
As for Chelsea they were left rueing silly challenges in the box and missed opportunities in the first half for Nathan Ake and Alex Kiwomya.
Kiwomya was unleashed down the right hand side by an inch perfect pass from Lewis Baker, later crowned player of the tournament, but he could only strike his effort wide.
Ake, who was recalled to the squad after missing the semi-final against Arsenal due to first-team duties, managed to get hold of a Kiwomya through ball just before the break. His shot squirmed under the body of Bradley Watkins before being cleared just short of the goal-line by Riccardo Calder.
The second half however was all Aston Villa’s and the persistent hard work of Robinson finally paid off when he drifted out wide and performed some quick movement that saw him felled by Alex Davey to give away the penalty; which Burke duly converted.
Villa continued to look in control of proceedings and after receiving his first booking for a blatant dive Kiwomya found himself in the referees book for a second time and received his marching orders on 88 minutes to all but end any lingering hopes of victory for the Londoners.
Aston Villa’s status as the best young team in Europe was confirmed when, after Daniel Pappoe fouled Joshua Barton in the box, Burke stepped up to hammer in the second goal of the game. It was his seventh goal of the competition making him joint top-scorer with Islam Feruz; and also the last kick of the 2012-13 NextGen Series as Villa celebrated a deserved victory.
Here is some reaction from the players on Twitter. A couple of pictures thrown in and well wishes from the first-team as well.
Thank you everyone for your support it means alot to all of us Just happy we've done the club proud ! And to be know as champions of europe— Lewis Kinsella (@Lewis_kinsella) April 1, 2013
cant get to sleep, don't want this feeling to end! european champions #outstanding— Bradley Lewis (@BradleyLewis27) April 2, 2013
We can now officially call ourselves the Champions of Europe for our age!— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish1) April 1, 2013
Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) April 1, 2013
You can see highlights from the game below...
image: © NextGen Series