Date: 8th October 2007 at 11:47am
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Craig Gardner says he’ll keep taking the free kicks after telling his team mates ‘If I’m scoring, I’m not being moved off them!’ The uncompromising Villa midfielder, who seems to be getting better by the game which has earnt him England U21 recognition, said after his second goal in a week,

‘I want to get around the 10-goal mark and after scoring two in eight, it can be done. I’d like to be on free kicks for good – both were fairly close in and it was the same free kick, hard and low. I’m sure I’ll get more goals but I’ve just got to keep it up now. We’ll see whether I can bend one in the top corner – they’re all big games but I’ll save those for the even bigger games!’

He does however admit he has some tough competition for the free kick specialist tag, ‘David Beckham has been renowned for his free kicks, but we’ve got Shaun Maloney, who is unbelievable at them as well. We’ve got Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Shaun, Stiliyan Petrov and myself who can take them, so I’m sure we’ll vary it.’

‘Myself and Shaun practice them, but when it comes to games, it’s different – there’s a big wall in front of you, the crowd all around you and the keeper to beat. I wouldn’t say I’m our free kick specialist – I just stood up and smacked it, it went in and I went off celebrating. If they don’t go in, I’m disappointed, but the last two have gone in and I’m sure I’ll take more.’

He also says when asked if Villa can build on their placing and go fourth ‘what’s stopping us?’ explaining ‘I don’t think anyone will be surprised – people expect us to be up there with the players and manager we’ve got. ‘We’ve beaten Chelsea and West Ham, we drew at Tottenham so why not? It’s definitely the right time to be playing Manchester United. We beat Chelsea, so we’ll see if we can get a result out of Man U. Let’s go and get it.’

That is the one thing about having such a young team, they have a ‘sod it, we can beat anyone’ attitude, and who is to say they aren’t right?!