In amongst the youngsters doing us proud last night as they reached the semi-finals of the NextGen tournament, we also had some great news from Gary Gardner, another young player who many have high hopes for. What with the first team also doing well at the moment, there is a positive vibe surrounding the Villa, and let’s hope it continues for a while.
Of all of our young group at the club, I think Villa fans have perhaps the highest expectations for Gardner, and while others like Weimann, Baker, Clark etc have come into the first team and done really well, a couple of years ago it was Gardner that plenty tipped to come in and make that central midfield place his own. He has of course been ridiculously unlucky with injuries, and I hope we get to see him firing on all cylinders sooner rather than later.
He tweeted the good news (as you do these days I guess) that he’s returning to training, and as you’d expect this was very positively received by the Villa faithful:
After 7 months of hard work first day back training today! What a feeling! Hard work pays off! Time to kick on thanks for all your support!
— Gary Gardner (@Gards38) March 20, 2013
It’s here though that I would advise caution, and I think to ask him to come back and make an impact this season might be a bit too much. Now I’m no doctor, and if he’s cleared to play and Lambert thinks it right then great, throw him in. I’m just not sure personally if it would be wise to throw him into action, when in all likelihood we’ll be fighting to stay in this division, adding a bit of an edge to what are already pretty intense games.
If perhaps (and naturally we all hope) we’ve secured our safety before the end of the season, then that would be ideal to give him a few minutes. I still have really high hopes for Gardner, and I’d love to see him start next season fully firing. He could finally be the player to grab more than say two goals from midfield, and he also has one hell of a free kick on him.
It’s great that the player is returning to full fitness, and I sincerely hope that he can stay injury free for the Villa for a long time to come.
Just a quick post today to congratulate our fantastic youngsters on a hugely impressive 4-0 victory against Turkish giants Fenerbahce in the NextGen tournament.
I’ve mentioned before how this tournament can only be a good thing, and playing at Villa Park is an important stage in their development. They didn’t disappoint those in attendance with a display full of attacking football and high quality. Three of our very highly rated youngsters (Samir Carruthers, Gary Gardner and Daniel Johnson) all grabbed goals, with another promising player Callum Robinson scoring the other.
We all should be extremely proud of our young stars, who put on a great display in the tournament seen by many as a ‘Champions League’ for this age-group. Gary Gardner has already found himself on the bench this season, and I hope now that despite some of our first team pro’s returning to fitness, he is given a chance sometime soon. He impresses nearly every time he plays, and surely it’s just a matter of time before we see him in action.
Well done to the players, coaches and the fans who showed up on what was a terrific night for our young Villans.
Under 21 roundup, star would have quit had Houllier stayed, more links to an old boy and Bent update….busy day!
The encouraging start to the season continued last night as some of Villa’s young stars impressed while on under 21 duty with their respective countries.
Nathan Baker started for England U’21′s but his night was cruelly cut short as he suffered a knee injury just before half time. During the game he look composed on the ball, and spread it around nicely from his centre-back role. Could do nothing about the goal as Israel broke from a corner with Baker out of position after pushing forward for the set piece. No news yet on the extent of his injury but we wish him well.
Nathan Delfouneso and Gary Gardner both made appearances during the second half, coming on side by side with around twenty five minutes to play. Gardner was making his debut at this level and while he didn’t get many chances to show what he can do, he did spray a number of cracking balls out wide, and it is only a matter of time before he makes an impact at first team level. I thought the Fonz looked really sharp, and deserved his goal for his lively cameo. It came via the penalty spot, and despite a rather awkward stop, start, step back, run forward run-up, he still finished with aplomb, slotting the ball into the bottom corner. The game finished 4 – 1 to England and our young Villans should be proud at their performances.
Another young striker, Andreas Weimann, currently on loan at Watford scored a goal in Austria’s under 21 victory against their Greek counterparts as they won 3 2. This was in addition to the two he grabbed last Friday against Luxembourg. Not a bad few days! He’s very highly rated at the Villa and I would like to see him given a chance this season. The Championship is a very good league so the loan should stand him in good stead. Good luck for the rest of it!
As I write this Richard Dunne has just finished performing heroics in Russia, and has made a quite incredible goal-line stop which you need to see. Given was also sensational behind him and this can only bode well for the Villa, well in boys! In other Dunne news though, the defender has admitted that he would have ‘probably left had Houllier had stayed’. Now we all know about the infamous fall out last season, and his form was inconsistent at best last campaign. I don’t think it’s worthwhile talking about the past, and you can see from his performances already that Dunne, along with Collins are enjoying playing under the new manager. We’ve only conceded the one goal in three games, and I hope that this impressive form continues as the season progresses. A Richard Dunne playing at his best, can only be a good thing for the Villa. You can see the difference having Given behind him makes, and I hope we can get back to being the defensive force we were a few seasons ago.
The links to Villa old boy Steven Davis first came up towards the end of the transfer window, and now it appears as we were genuinely interested in the midfielder as McLeish has revealed the following:
“Steven Davis is a Rangers player. We asked about him, but we know how much he means to Rangers”
“We never pursued it because they made it clear he wasn’t for sale.”
I was a fan of Davis during his initial tenure at the Villa, and thought he performed well albeit in a very poor Villa side. Despite links to Man Utd he went on to Fulham where he did very little before shining in Scotland with Rangers. He does have talent, but for me we have too many similar players here, and I’d prefer to see the likes of Bannan/Ireland given a go before we wasted money and wages on a player we don’t really need. We’ve been burnt before on signing players from Scotland, and I fear we would again if we were to bring Davis back to our club.
Lastly today and a quick update from AMC who has said Bent is ‘touch and go’ to face Everton this weekend. Now this doesn’t sound too promising, and while I hope he makes it, if there is any doubt we’d be better letting him sit this one out, rather than run the risk of losing him for a longer period. If he is out then we have to find a way of creating, and taking our chances. I would like to see the aforementioned Delfouneso given a run-out, but I expect that Gabby would move up, with perhaps Jenas or Bannan taking his place on the left. Time will tell but we hope it’s nothing too serious!
As always, feel free to share your views on here, or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.