None of the kids at Villa stand a better chance of stardom at the club than lifelong fan Gary Gardner. The 18-year-old centre midfielder is brother to former Villa player Craig, now at Birmingham, and is all set to succeed where his elder sibling couldn’t in becoming a huge success at Villa Park.
Gary is part of the Villa half of the Gardner family and has become an integral part of Villa’s reserve team side this season after recovering from ligament damage which had kept him out of almost all of 2010. The youngster took no time in making his mark on Kevin MacDonlad’s side on his comeback and starred in the final 5 months of the campaign to earn calls for a chance in the first team.
Of all of the youth team players coming through, if any are going to break into the first team as Albrighton, Clark and Bannan did last term, it will undoubtedly be Gary Gardner. New manager Alex McLeish was a big fan of his brother having taken him to St Andrews and I would be pretty confident to say that he will not be disappointed by the younger of the two!
His first start back in reserve team action following injury is one he will no doubt never forget, picking up the man of the match award along with a brace in the astonishing 10-1 win over Arsenal at Solihull. He netted three more times for the second string in the final stages of the season – against Wolves, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion – as well as twice for the U18s against Leicester and Reading.
The wonderkid has 2 caps at Under-19 level for England, netting in the international friendly against Turkey (as pictured) as well as 2 Under-20 caps. His talents are not unknown outside Villa, or even the Premier League for that matter, and links to the likes of Real Madrid in the past are indicative of Gardner’s tremendous ability.
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