Craig Set To Decide Future
Craig Gardner is more than happy to fill Gareth Barry's boots should Martin O'Neill give him the chance, but he's also not ruling out a loan move this season either.
Having been frozen out for much of last season Gardner is seriously looking at his short term future with a number of clubs interested in taking him on loan if rumours are to be believed.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail Craig explained that he was more than happy at Villa, and had no intentions of leaving the club in a permanent capacity, but admitted that he would see what happened.
After the recent 7-0 demolition of Azerbaijan for the England U21's, featuring both a sterling performance from the 22 year old and a goal, he finds his stock high again and said:
'I love playing football and I love playing in midfield so hopefully the manager has seen this game and it's reminded him what I'm about.
'It's nice to hear that some of the fans think I might be able to step into Gareth's shoes and hopefully it happens.'
The question is most expect O'Neill to bring in a replacement for Barry, which would add to the numbers again of a very competative midfield (well in numbers anyway) of Reo-Coker, Gardner, Petrov, Sidwell, Milner, Young, Salifou and potentially this season the proper introduction of the likes of Albrighton and Bannan.
So with clubs like Wigan and yes, amazingly, Blues being linked with a loan move, it may be better all round for Craig to get out and get a few months of regular first team action as it serves nobodies benefit if he spends another season on the bench or at right back.