talkSPORT's Talent Spotter gives you the essential info on Aston Villa's exciting attacking midfielder Gary Gardner, who's ready to light up up the Championship whilst on loan at Coventry…
THE NITTY GRITTY
Name: Gary Gardner
Position: Central Midfielder (attacking)
Club: Aston Villa
Currently playing for: Coventry City, on loan until January 2012
Date of birth: 29/06/1992 (19 at time of writing)
Place of birth: Solihull, England
NEED TO KNOW
Achievements so far: A graduate of Aston Villa's youth academy and younger brother to Sunderland defender Craig, Gary Gardner is regarded as a future England star. Gardner captained Villa's youth team during the early part of the 2009/10 campaign and scored 14 goals before a horrible anterior cruciate ligament injury ended his season prematurely. After taking nearly a year out, Gardner continued his progression when he returned to action in January 2011 and made the move up to the England U21 squad, where he has netted two goals in three European Championship qualifying games. So far this season Gardner has scored two goals and has an assist in five games for the Aston Villa reserves, but has now joined Championship side Coventry City on a one month emergency loan. His stock has risen dramatically in the last year and he is now Villa's most exciting prospect, as he sets his sights on pushing his way in to Alex McLeish's first-team.
International honours: After playing for every preceding England age group, Gardner is now part of Stuart Pearce's U21 side with four caps and two goals to his name so far.
1) After returning from injury only weeks before, Gardner was influential in Aston Villa's 10-1 demolition of Arsenal in a reserve league game in January 2011. During the match he scored twice and created another two goals.
2) The Gardner brothers have high-hopes of playing for England together. Gary says: "If we could play together that would be a dream come true and the family would be very proud. Especially for England in the senior international team. I have played with Craig for Villa in the reserves and we'll see what happens in the future. England is our dream and if it happens it would be wonderful, but if not hopefully we can still play for a club team together one day."
3) Gardner scored a hat-trick as Aston Villa beat Ajax to book their place in the quarter-finals of the NextGen Series, a tournament designed to give youth players an experience similar to the Champions League.
4) He scored on his debut for Coventry against Brighton last weekend. The Sky Blues went on to lose the game 2-1 and are currently sitting in the relegation zone.
5) His contract at Aston Villa was extended in December 2010, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2014.
WHAT'S BEEN SAID
He says: "The manager spoke to me and said the best thing would be to go out [on loan] for a month. I want to go there, score goals and win games and help Coventry and then play for Villa."
They say: “Gary is a player that everybody told me about when I came here and how he could burst into the first team almost straight away, but people forget he was out with a cruciate ligament injury for about a year. He is now starting to show the potential he has got. We are now seeing that in his performances and also getting a chance for his country at under-21 level. He is also chipping in with goals which is fantastic for his confidence.” Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish
Watch Gardner's hat-trick against Ajax
Check out Gardner's brilliant free-kick for England U21s