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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

UEFA Qualification A Vital Development

Craig Gardner believes that if/when/should Villa qualify for the Uefa Cup it will represent a vital stage in the clubs redevelopment under Lerner and Martin O'Neill.

The pre season, and our mini tour of Switzerland kicks off tonight as we face Moustapha Salifou's former club FC Wil. Kick off 7pm CET.

The Intertwobob kicks off next weekend and Villa need to hit the ground running if we intend on turning this into a memorable season.

Speaking on the official site, Gardner said:

'We're back in competitive action next weekend and I guarantee that every single Villa player will be up for it. We know how much we want it, we know how much the fans want it and we know how much the staff want it.

'I think the manager got it right when he said that playing in Europe can be an important stage in the development of any young player. We've got a young squad and we can only benefit from a run in the UEFA Cup.

'Look at Tottenham last year, they had the run in Europe and went onto win the Carling Cup, so they played a lot of football. You can end up playing 50-odd games in a season and that's massive.

'Playing against European opposition is something quite a few of us haven't done yet and we can only learn from the experience. We want to learn quickly so we can have a decent run this time.

'We need a big squad to do that and at the moment I think we've got one of the smallest squads in the Premier League. But the gaffer will bring in the new faces and I'm sure he won't let the fans down.'

On the subject of transfers, Gardner added:

'I'm looking at the speculation all the time and I'm definitely excited at the prospect of quite a few new arrivals this summer.

'As players we know as much as the fans and we only really know if the speculation is true once players sign deals.

'With new players coming in it means a fresh challenge for the players already here at the club. But every player should be up for that and I love a challenge.

'If new players come in it makes me work harder - in training and out there on the pitch. That's what every footballer's like. We're competitive and we want to play as many games as we possibly can.'




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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday July 10 2008

Time: 4:29PM

Your Comments

Be interesting to see how Craig develops over the next season or two, he is certainly tough tackling and not afraid to shoot!
The Fear
I have said it before and I will say it again. I love Gardner. He is a good, tough player and seems intelligent and hard working. Could be our next Barry. Or even THE next Gerrard. Except in a Villa shirt forever.
simonbigron
Under M'ON, Gardner will develop into a fantastic player and be an integral part of Villa for many years to come. Will definately get his chance this season in his favoured position of CM. Over the coming year M'ON will work on his defensive duties and he will become an quality box-to-box midfielder. Looking forward to watching him play more.
JOHN.CAREWS.CREW
Yeah, I like Gardner too, although I'm still undecided about whether or not he will ever become a first choice starter. Good interview, solid, and I hope he has a good season - with our likely lack in numbers, he'll have an important part to play for sure!
romanianvillain
I think Gardner has massive potential and will develop into a starter during the season.
notthedougellisstand
If he's got decent vision then he's got it all. He's certainly half decent at passing and winning the ball, but it's what he does with it that'll mark him out as a truely top class midfielder. You look at Fabregas or somebody of that ilk; Gardner has already shown he's every bit as good an athlete as him, the thing that sets fabregas apart is what he can see unfolding ahead of him. Only time will tell...
lorenzo
Odense wont be a pushover, far from it, but I understand where Craig is coming from. Hopefully a big season ahead for young Gardner, and hopefully he doesn't have to spend time playing at right full back.
glensider
Agree with most of the comments made above. He's a popular player amongst the supporters, and has the ability and potential to really go far at Villa Park.
glensider
I wonder what difference qualification will make to transfers. If Villa boobed and lost the qualifying match how many players would not be bought?
col8
Let's not talk about that . . .
Villan-in-Cyprus
 

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