Gardner - The New Andy Townsend?
Craig Gardner has spoken about his future after scoring his first senior goal for Aston Villa at the weekend against Middlesbrough. The midfielder told the official site:
'I think the goal has been coming and now I've got it. The gaffer just told me to get into the box and get onto the end of things. Gabby did well to get the ball to me and, to be honest, it got stuck under my foot at first. But then I just tucked it away and then I just ran off. I didn't see it hit the net. As soon as I saw it go past Mark Schwarzer I just turned and ran. I didn't really know where I was going - I just ran until someone jumped on me.'
The 20-year-old added: 'To score your first goal in the Premiership is massive and I'm just grateful to the manager for giving me my chance. Hopefully I've repaid him a bit and hopefully I can repay a lot more. The goal came at a big time for us. I think it was virtually the last kick of the half. The manager really got behind us at half-time and you could tell we couldn't wait to get out there for the second-half.'
And quite rightly finished by praising the fans, 'The fans have been brilliant this season, following us all over the country. To go to Middlesbrough is a long journey, but I'm sure the result made it worthwhile for them.'
Martin O'Neill recently said he thought Gardner had a good future in front of him at Villa, if he carries on like this he might even be the next Andy Townsend, a tough midfielder who we never really replaced.
It now seems that the Villa boss is ready to tie Gardner to a similar long term deal that Gabriel Agbonlahor has recently agreed to.
'Obviously I want to keep Craig at the football club. His attitude is fantastic. I will definitely look at it (contract). I think a lot of him. He obviously got injured at the time when he got into the team, but his attitude in the reserves and his general ability. He is better infield than wide on the right-hand side. He got more into the game when we tucked him in, but he has done great.'