Transfer news: Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner signs new two-year contract
Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner has agreed a new two-year deal with club, keeping him at Villa Park until June 2016.
Last Updated: 21/05/14 7:23pm
Gardner joined Villa's academy as a six-year-old but his progress has been disrupted by serious knee injuries in recent seasons
He only managed four appearances while on-loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season and the 21-year-old revealed he is now determined to repay the faith Villa have shown in him
"For me, it shows how much the club cares about me and sees me as a central player in the future," Gardner told the club's website.
"The manager and other people at the club believe in me and know what I'm capable of. I want to be a big player for the team next season and I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can to demonstrate the potential they see in me.
"Obviously, it's been a frustrating two or so years for me. I injured my knee, the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), and I tried to get back too quick, which actually set me back a few months.
"I went to Sheffield Wednesday last season on loan, played through a foot injury and made it worse, so that was another setback.
"But that's the type of lad I am. I really want to do well here. This is my team, it's a brilliant football club and playing for Villa has always been my dream.
"Even when I was injured or when I just haven't been in the squad, I go to the games, even the away games and soak it all in, sitting with the away fans and kicking every ball for the team.
"I'm still young but I want to establish myself and show everybody what I can do.
"With the England U21s, I've experienced international football and it's three years ago now since I made my Villa debut, so it's up to me now to work my way into the team again and stay there."
Gardner's Villa debut came in the New Years' Eve victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2011.
He also captained the Villa U19 side in the NextGen competition in 2011 and scored six goals, including a hat-trick against Ajax at Villa Park, to finish joint second highest goalscorer in the tournament.
Gardner has started five games for Villa and made 11 further appearances from the bench, his most recent on the final day of the 2012-13 season against Wigan.