BARNSLEY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Nathan Delfouneso of England celebrates with teammate Gary Gardner after scoring his team's third goal during the Under-21 International Friendly between England and Israel at Oakwell Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Barnsley, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
I swear, Alex McLeish listens to the pleas of Aston Villa supporters and then intentionally trolls them by doing exactly the opposite of what they're hoping for -- like sending Gary Gardner to Coventry on a month-long loan. Granted, we fans are not the coach and sometimes we're ridiculously stupid. But there were reasons for wanting Gardner to have a chance in the first team, and they were three-fold: one, two, three goals against Ajax in the NextGen series, as the Villa babies qualified for the quarter-finals. Wouldn't it be nice if someone could do that in a first-team match?Yet a rational person would realize that Gardner likely isn't ready for the first team quite yet. He missed nearly a year with injury. He's certainly still young. Plus, he likely doesn't have the defensive abilities required for a McLeish team (as discussed just last night on our podcast). Let's cross our fingers Gards does well at Coventry and comes back ready for at least a few appearances in the first team.
Also, it appears the Villa don't have another NextGen game until after Christmas. We'd love to see them continue to advance in this tournament, and having Gardner back in the team is an essential part of that.