Gary Gardner insists he will do whatever he can to bounce back from his injury hell – even if it means playing in goal again!
The Villa midfielder has just started the long rehabilitation process from a knee injury but has already admitted he will play anywhere for new boss Paul Lambert.
Gardner’s response when asked if he was prepared to play out of position, has become a common cliche from modern-day footballers in recent times but the 20-year-old has previous to back up his claims that he will feature anywhere on the pitch when fit.
“When I was with the Under-14s I started three games in goal because the club asked me to,” said Gardner, the younger brother of Sunderland and ex-Blues ace Craig.
“The two goalkeepers were injured so they asked me to do a job.
‘‘When I was little and we used to go over the park, Craig used to chuck me in goal because he was older than me and he used to blast shots at me.
“I can play in goal, I can play anywhere. I’ll do whatever this club wants me to do and I’ll play wherever I’m asked. I am a lad that will listen to the club and just get my head down.” Gardner is still an estimated six months away from a return but is keen to impress Lambert as much as he can.
His substitute appearance against West Ham on the opening day of the season has left him in good spirits despite sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury in an Under-21 match with Stoke City soon after.
It was the second time the academy graduate, who has been at Villa since he was six, has fallen victim to the dreaded injury. But Lambert’s words of wisdom have helped him remain upbeat.
“The manager has spoken with me and told me what he wants me to do and what he doesn’t want me to do,” added Gardner.
“But I’ve not had that much time to work with him yet.
“He’s got 20-odd players here to work with and there is plenty of competition for places, which is good to have. I came on against West Ham so that gives me positive feelings that he likes what he sees in me so hopefully when I get back I’ll get another chance.”
* Gardner was speaking at Villa’s EA Sports FIFA 13 Pro Player Tournament. FIFA 13 is out now on all formats including PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 and iOS.