Aston Villa-owned Gary Gardner couldn’t prevent Nottingham Forest from falling to a 3-1 defeat in Wednesday night’s Championship clash against Watford but the midfielder once again underlined his top-flight credentials.
With the home side 2-0 behind and a man down following Kelvin Wilson’s red card, Gardner produced a curling 73rd-minute free-kick for his fourth Forest goal in 16 appearances, giving them some hope of getting back into the match.
While Almen Abdi’s strike three minutes before the end would ensure Watford of the win, the Villa loanee still managed to emerge from the encounter with some impressive statistics, recording nine shots, six tackles, 10 won duels, three interceptions, 50 passes and 78 touches, in addition to his consolation goal.
|Goals||Total Shots||Shots Ontarget||Total Tackles||Duels Won||Duel Success||Interceptions||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Touches||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
Set to turn 23 in the summer, Gardner has long-been considered one of Villa’s most promising talents but two serious knee injuries have served to derail his progress with his hometown club over the past few seasons.
However, after a five-month loan spell at Brighton and his current stint at Forest, the former England Under-21 international is now back fit and fulfilling the potential which once even saw him compared to Steven Gerrard.
Forest fans would no doubt like to see him return next season on a permanent basis but, with the resurgent and now in-demand Tom Cleverley a strong candidate to leave Villa in the summer when his loan ends, per Sky Sports, claret and blue boss Tim Sherwood should have a spot for him in his squad for the 2015-16 campaign.