FORMER Newport County AFC loan star Finn Azaz has earned a move up the leagues after signing for Plymouth Argyle for the coming season.

The Aston Villa prospect will spent the 2022/23 campaign with the Pilgrims in League One, aiming to build on a stellar year with the Exiles.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder was a key figure in the promotion push and his exploits led to him being named as the division's young player of the season and in the team of the year.

Azaz headed to Newport after helping Cheltenham win the League Two title in 2021 and thrived with extra responsibility in the number 10 role, scoring seven goals and provided six assists.

The talent played for Premier League Villa in their pre-season friendly win at Walsall last weekend but will now return to the EFL to develop.

"Last season, I got more goals that the season before," said Azaz, who also felt he was denied the dramatic late winner at Swindon when it went down as an own goal.

"You get an appetite for it, that feeling of scoring and people celebrating. When I was having the initial conversation, a video got sent to me of some of the goals here, and some of the celebrations. That's part of the reason why I am here.

"I'm ready for that next step; that bigger stadium, that bigger noise. I'm really excited for it."

Azaz joined County late in the transfer window and grew into things at Rodney Parade to become a key man under James Rowberry, who took the reins in mid-October.

The Villa prospect made strides but also left Newport with some regrets.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Former County loanee Finn AzazINFLUENTIAL: Former County loanee Finn Azaz

"I didn't have the start to the season I wanted, but pushing through that and to have the season I had, I feel like I developed a lot," he said.

"I was disappointed with where we finished; from a personal point-of-view it was a good season, but I am always concerned with 'are we winning?' That's the most important thing."

"I want to develop to become a Premier League player at my club. That's the ultimate goal," said Azaz, who came through the ranks at West Brom before moving to Villa last summer.

"In terms of this season, I'm focused on trying to win every single game, getting that next step to where we want to be.

"Everyone's journey is different. I've got people who I played with as a kid – we had a successful youth team – who are no longer playing.

"I was one of those players that wasn't the main guy, the main name on the tip of people's tongue when they spoke about my age group, but I slowly built through the ranks, carried on working hard, and growing as a player.

"When I was 17, I developed physically, I bulked up in the gym a bit. That helped progress me into men's football.

"Over the last two seasons, playing in men's football, I've continued to develop physically, tactically and psychologically.

"As a player, the two things I like most are winning football matches and developing. The two go hand-in-hand."

Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher said that Azaz chose them ahead of other League One clubs and, after what he saw in Newport, is confident Azaz will be a hit at Home Park.

"He is a creative and exciting midfield player that will add quality to our team," he said.

"He has an eye for a goal, and his composure in attacking situations is what really stood out to us."