Smith should sell Gardner this summer

Gary Gardner has an uncertain future at Aston Villa. The central midfielder has struggled for form, fitness and playing time in the Midlands and could be moved on by Dean Smith this summer. Gardner has made 46 appearances in all competitions for Villa, the last of which came against Wigan Athletic on August 22, 2017, but it’s hard to see him staying for another year.

The 26-year-old fell down the pecking order at Villa Park and has been loaned out to Sheffield Wednesday (February 12, 2014 – March 13, 2014), Brighton & Hove Albion (August 26, 2014 – December 31, 2014), Nottingham Forest (January 9, 2015 – May 4, 2015), Barnsley (August 31, 2017 – May 31, 2018) and Birmingham (August 9, 2018 – May 31, 2019) in a bid for more playing time.

Gardner found himself behind Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, Jack Grealish, John McGinn, Henri Lansbury and Birkir Bjarnason in the pecking order last summer which led to his most recent loan move to Birmingham. He made 42 appearances in all competitions, racking up 3264 minutes of playing time, and made a big impact at St Andrews.

The former England u21 international still has one year remaining on his deal at Villa, but he appearances to be surplus to requirements after featuring just once for the Lions in more than two years. If Villa didn’t consider Gardner good enough for Championship football, he won’t be good enough for the Premier League in August either.

Stats from Transfermarkt.