By Amir Mir

Arsenal legend and ex-Villa player Martin Keown hopes the Villans can make an instant return to the Premier League after relegation last season.

The TV pundit was responding to birthday wishes from the club’s official Twitter account on Sunday, and gave his best wishes to Roberto Di Matteo’s side for the forthcoming Championship season.

“Thanks for the Birthday messages,” Keown wrote on his personal Twitter account. “Keeping my fingers crossed Villa come straight back up again as we did last time.”

Here is the exchange between the club and the former centre-back.

The 50-year-old was part of the Villa team which was relegated in the 1986-87 season, when then-manager Graham Turner was unable to keep the young side in the top-tier, despite the club winning the European Cup five years before.

The former Arsenal player was just a 20-year-old back then, but the hard-hitting defender played a key role for the club making 112 appearances over a three-year period as they bounced straight back up from relegation.

Villa supporters will be echoing the defender’s thoughts, and hoping the club can rise to the unique challenge of the Championship and climb straight back to the Premier League.

In other Aston Villa team news, manager Roberto Di Matteo could select this duo to lead the club to instant promotion this season.