Date: 10th July 2008 at 4:30pm
Written by:

Craig Gardner believes that if/when/should Villa qualify for the Uefa Cup it will represent a vital stage in the clubs redevelopment under Lerner and Martin O’Neill.

The pre season, and our mini tour of Switzerland kicks off tonight as we face Moustapha Salifou’s former club FC Wil. Kick off 7pm CET.

The Intertwobob kicks off next weekend and Villa need to hit the ground running if we intend on turning this into a memorable season.

Speaking on the official site, Gardner said:

‘We’re back in competitive action next weekend and I guarantee that every single Villa player will be up for it. We know how much we want it, we know how much the fans want it and we know how much the staff want it.

‘I think the manager got it right when he said that playing in Europe can be an important stage in the development of any young player. We’ve got a young squad and we can only benefit from a run in the UEFA Cup.

‘Look at Tottenham last year, they had the run in Europe and went onto win the Carling Cup, so they played a lot of football. You can end up playing 50-odd games in a season and that’s massive.

‘Playing against European opposition is something quite a few of us haven’t done yet and we can only learn from the experience. We want to learn quickly so we can have a decent run this time.

‘We need a big squad to do that and at the moment I think we’ve got one of the smallest squads in the Premier League. But the gaffer will bring in the new faces and I’m sure he won’t let the fans down.’

On the subject of transfers, Gardner added:

‘I’m looking at the speculation all the time and I’m definitely excited at the prospect of quite a few new arrivals this summer.

‘As players we know as much as the fans and we only really know if the speculation is true once players sign deals.

‘With new players coming in it means a fresh challenge for the players already here at the club. But every player should be up for that and I love a challenge.

‘If new players come in it makes me work harder – in training and out there on the pitch. That’s what every footballer’s like. We’re competitive and we want to play as many games as we possibly can.’