Date: 19th March 2008 at 11:30am
Written by:

Craig Gardner has been named in the England Under-21 squad who play Poland at Molineux next Tuesday. Gardner is also in contention for a return to the Villa squad having made a good recovery from his back injury picked up v Boro.

Martin O’Neill told the official site: ‘Craig was really sore on Friday. And it would be unlike Craig, as he does not want to miss many games. His back had seized up at half-time against Boro. You can always adjust anyway, so we will see, but Craig has done a decent job. I have been really pleased with him.’ He also says he has no problems playing the 22-year-old midfielder at right back explaining: ‘He is obviously a midfield player but there is nothing to prevent him from starting to think about playing that position. He has played there for the under-21s and it is a position that going forwards he is pretty comfortable with. It is the defending aspect that he would have to learn, just as he would if he was playing defensive midfield anyway. He plays a great ball and his second half performance against Newcastle was really excellent. He had a couple of exceptional shots. He is learning all the time and this will be a good experience for him. Defensively he can improve; it is about shaping up to tricky, fast wingers. But as a midfielder one of your tasks has to be to go backwards.’

Gabby Agbonlahor isn’t named in the U21 squad so looks set for a call up in Fabio Capello’s senior squad to face France.