Aston Villa's Gary Gardner hails Ashley Westwood's ability

Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner, who spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest this season, is a big fan of Ashley Westwood.

Gary Gardner has told Aston Villa's official website that Ashley Westwood is the most underrated midfielder at the club.

Westwood plays a crucial role in Villa's team, but because he doesn't steal headlines, Gardner feels that he is undervalued.

Westwood is generally tasked with dictating the pace of Villa's attacks, but he is not one to get on the scoresheet all that often.

His lack of goals means that he can go unnoticed at times but Gardner, who has spent part of the season out on loan at Nottingham Forest, says that Westwood is a player he looks up to - and he is looking to try and learn from him in training.

"I think Ashley is probably the most underrated of the four central midfielders we have playing this season," he said.

"He gets out on the field and does his job calmly every single week. He sits in that midfield area and keeps the ball ticking over. His consistency is frightening.

"I think he's done really well ever since he joined us from Crewe. He's not looked fazed and I think he's been improving with every passing week and every passing season.

"People love the 40-yard Hollywood ball - and Ashley can produce those - but his efficiency of passing is what makes him stand out. He's a very clever player and one I definitely admire."

Gardner and Westwood could be in direct competition for a place in the Villa starting line-up next season, as they are both able to perform similar functions.

Gardner impressed in a defensive midfield role with Nottingham Forest and he will be hoping to take that place in Villa's team in the 2015/16 campaign.

Tim Sherwood is a manager that is not afraid to give youth a chance, though, and Gardner could be one of the players to benefit.

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