22. Gary Gardner

Date of Birth: 29 June 1992
Place of Birth: Solihull, England
Nationality: England
Position: Midfield

Gardner has come up through the ranks of the Villa Academy where he started his footballing career in 2005. Though this was put on hold when in December 2009 he sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

His first step into the first team came in the summer of 2011 as Aston Villa played against Chelsea in the Barclays Asia Trophy final (lost). From here we represented the club in the inaugural NextGen series. He scored several goals against the likes of Fenerbahce and Rosenborg but his best performance came when he scored a hat trick against Ajax. In all Gardner netted 6 goals for Aston Villa in the tournament.

Gardner spent a brief loan spell at Coventry City in November 2011. It was ment to be a 1 moan loan but he was recalled by a few days. He scored in his debut in a 2-1 loss to Brighton.

After being recalled Gardner made his first league appearance for the club in a 3-1 win away at Chelsea coming off the bench for Albrighton. His first start for the club came in a 3-2 win away at Wolves. In all Gardner has made 15 appearances for the club but has yet to net his first goal.

On 22 August 2012, Gardner suffered another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in his right knee – the same injury that kept him out in for a year in 2009. The injury kept him out for 8 months and he missed the majority of the Premiership season. He did get some playing time in the final game of the season against Wigan which ended 2-2.

Gary has had successful loan spells with Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton and most recently Nottingham Forest.

At  international level Gardner has represented England at the U17, U19, U20 and U21 levels. He netted his first goal on November 10th 2011 in match against Iceland.

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