Gary Gardner has explained to the Aston Villa website that it’s very important for him to impress manager Tim Sherwood through pre-season.
Gardner is part of the squad, which will compete for first team places under Sherwood ahead of next season and the midfielder did well while on loan with Nottingham Forest in the Championship last season.
He also feels that Sherwood’s attitude to all of his players is ‘refreshing’ and he’s told the club’s website that he feels any youngster has a clear message ahead of the next campaign.
“It's massively important for me to impress the gaffer, come back next season fit and strong and look to get in this team,” he said.
“If you're good enough, the gaffer will play you. That's a refreshing attitude in football.”
“I think it's great to see a manager who's willing to let young talent shine and develop. Hopefully I can impress him. I will work hard to get in his team.”
What does Gardner need to do this summer to impress Sherwood?
Firstly, he needs to hit the ground running once the squad is back together for pre-season.
If he can show the boss that he’s stayed sensible throughout the summer and has looked after himself effectively, he should be able to get himself into the back of the manager’s mind.
Secondly, he needs to take his chances through pre-season in the friendly games that the club have coming up.
What about the competition in his position?
Gardner has been helped by Tom Cleverley’s decision to take a permanent move to Everton.
Cleverley could have pushed for a permanent Aston Villa move, after a decent loan spell from Manchester United last season.
However, his exit has freed up a space in the side which creates an opportunity for Gardner to force his way into the team and then never give that place back.