Writer: Mike Field
Date:Monday June 30 2008
Craig Gardner can't wait for pre season to kick off so he can get back in the shirt and get back on the pitch.
I was going to say 'Craig's Bored of the Gardnering' but thought that would be silly.
The England U21 international missed the last two matches of the last campaign through injury, after having a very good, albeit flexible, season.
Filling in at right back for the most part, Gardner matured a lot during the season and did more than his fair share of working for the team, he also let us know he doesn't have a bad right foot when striking half volleys either.
Most players admit they hate the pre season slog as they just want the season to kick off properly, but Gardner has already been working throughout the summer to keep his fitness up and he's hoping to hit the ground running.
Speaking on the official site, the youngster said:
'I haven't stopped running really. I don't stop and I'm one of those players that can't stop. I get bored so I just go out running to keep myself ticking over.
'I've been watching the football as well, which has been exciting. But there's no substitute for being involved, training and playing games.
'It's nice to have a break but I definitely miss the day to day involvement and I miss the banter with the lads. But we're back this week and then the hard work begins.
'I thought overall I had a decent season, apart from the injury at the end. I was out for five or six weeks but it shouldn't have been that long. I got injured playing for England Under-21s and it was a stupid injury.
'But the start of the season went really well and I think I established myself as a Premier League player.
'I think next season is a massive one - not just for me but for Villa. We finished sixth last season and just missed out on an automatic UEFA Cup spot but we've got the Intertoto to play for.'
We've got a lot more than that to play for Craig. People seem torn on him judging from the message board. He's definitely not the complete player yet, but there is a lot to be said for the train of thought that links him with being the closest match to Ian Taylor we will see again.
Date:Monday June 30 2008
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