Gary Gardner and Callum Robinson today both completed the formalities and signed new two-year deals with Aston Villa.
Gardner’s contract was agreed in May, so it was just a matter of putting the final touches to it, while Robinson had waited to return from his summer break to officially seal the deal.
While Robinson will look to get more first team game time next season, he remains one for the future, while at 22, Gardner is very much in the last chance saloon to live up to his earlier promise. Once tipped to be a future Villa captain, Gardner has had his career ravaged by injury. A big preseason is key for the young Villa midfield to get in and around the first team, as he can’t afford to be an outcast on the fringes anymore.
Player quotes on new contracts
Gary Gardner, 22, 18 appearances (joined Villa at seven-years-old)
“I’ve had a bit of bad luck in the past two years but I’m feeling good and strong now so hopefully I can repay them.
“I’ve been here from a young age and I’ve been to Villa games all my life as a fan so it is a dream come true to play for the first team like I have done.
“Obviously injuries have hampered my progress but I’ve learned a lot from my experiences and I’m definitely stronger. The people around me have made me stronger, too.”
Callum Robinson 19, 5 appearances (joined Villa at eight-years-old)
“Last season was fantastic. I didn’t expect so many positives to come out of it. To work as hard as I have and then have the gaffer give me a chance with the first team, it was amazing. I have loved every minute of it.
“That feeling of coming on for my first team debut Tottenham was amazing and then to get my Premier League debut against Southampton at Villa Park was just crazy.
“I remember watching it on Match of the Day later that night and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My family were delighted. My friends were really pleased for me.”