Gary Gardner is a product of the superb Aston Villa Youth Academy, having been at the club since the age of six. It is the same academy that also produced his older brother Craig, who of course now plays for Sunderland.
A bright future is expected for Gary, having consistently impressed for both the youth and reserve sides at Villa. He has also represented England at U17, U18, U20 and U21 level, scoring 2 goals in 5 for the U21’s.
Injuries have meant that Gardner has fallen behind the progress made by the likes of Barry Bannan, Ciaran Clarke, and Marc Albrighton, via the Villa Academy. But he has stressed his desire to catch up, by doing anything possible to impress boss Lambert,
“I’ll do whatever this club wants me to do and I’ll play wherever I’m asked. I am a lad that will listen to the club and just get my head down.”
Some people will take those comments with a pinch of salt, or worse still, think it smacks of desperation. I prefer to look at it as the passionate words of a man that would do anything to play for the club he loves.
Besides Gardner has past experience, after playing in net for Villa before, “When I was with the Under-14s I started three games in goal because the club asked me to.”
Gardneris currently suffering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, sustained whilst away on International duty in early August.
He is still about six months away from recovery but, is already looking forward to pulling on the famous claret and blue jersey once more, fuelled by the optimism that Lambert used him as a sub during Villa’s first game of the season, “I came on against West Ham so that gives me positive feelings that he likes what he sees in me so hopefully when I get back I’ll get another chance.”
In an era when most footballers are more likely put in a transfer request, rather than play out of position, Gary Gardner’s words come as a breath of fresh air.
image: © ell brown