Based on his performances for the Villa youth team we had great hopes for Gary Gardner being a future Villa captain. And judging by his hat-trick against Ajax in the NextGen tournament (see below video), potentially Villa’s own version of Steven Gerrard.
Two serious knee injuries hampered his progress though and he never seemed to have the grit between his teeth when he did get the odd chance in the first team. Some fans consider him missing a point blank range header when he came on against Chelsea, a couple of seasons ago, as a symbolic moment as to whether he was going to make it or not.
It seemed Lambert still thought Gardner had something to offer when he surprisingly gave him a next two-year contract in pre-season. His loan to Brighton seemed to be a case of sharpening him up for his inclusion in the Villa squad for the rest of the season.
Gary Gardner Forest Loan
Brighton fans though seemed to be not too impressed by the midfielder’s loan period there, despite a couple of goals in 14 appearances in the Championship. This also seems to have been the opinion of the Villa coaching staff too, as Gardner has now been shipped out to Nottingham Forest until the end of the season. No doubt aided by Villa’s ex-CEO Paul Faulkner now being at the City Ground.
If Gardner is now fit, then surely this was the season to make his mark on the Villa team, with the current Villa midfield seriously shy of goals and any creation. With the amount of midfield injuries and suspensions Villa have suffered too, if Gardner was as good as his earlier hype suggested, he would have had plenty of chance to really make an impression.
It seems the odds of Gardner have any real future at Villa are now very slim indeed.
For a more optimistic look at Gardner and his attribute, check out our earlier article here
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