Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner on the secret behind his return to fitness

The promising midfielder is due to enter the first-team set-up in the coming weeks.

Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner has revealed his partner’s control over his diet has been key to ensuring his return to peak fitness.

The 23-year old was on course to be an important figure for the Villains this campaign, until an ankle injury sustained in a pre-season game with Swindon Town denied him the chance to hit the ground running.

He is fast approaching full fitness however, and looks set to feature for Tim Sherwood’s team in the very near future after the manager lavished praise on him yesterday.

An eight week recovery period has been a tough one for the talented midfielder, but his girlfriend’s influence has helped get him to a higher fitness level then he was at pre-injury.

“She’s been giving me the right foods and she’s taken away my chocolate and cakes!” He told the Birmingham Mail.

“She was a major part of these last eight weeks. She’s got me back sharp and back to fitness.”

“My body fat is actually lower than when I was fit,” he added.

Those words will be music to Sherwood’s ears as he looks to turn around Villa’s woeful start to the season.

Reports last week - by the likes of the Mirror - claimed the former Spurs boss needed a win from his next two games to keep his job and after leaving Stamford Bridge on Saturday with zero points, this weekend’s clash with Swansea now takes on an even greater significance.

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