Rising star: Gary Gardner is 'buzzing' after Villa debut

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Gary Gardner just can't quite believe his luck at the moment, after the youngster was handed his Aston Villa debut during the Barclays Asia Trophy.

The young midfielder has made quite an impression at Villa Park in recent seasons, and already has international pedigree, having played for England at every age-level up until the under 20s.

The 19-year-old - brother of Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner - was given his first team bow by Alex McLeish against Chelsea and, although the game ended in defeat, he enjoyed the experience from start to finish.

"I'm really happy I made my first team debut," he said. "I am disappointed we lost obviously but I am thrilled I made my debut.

"I am delighted the gaffer gave me a chance. He just said 'go out there and enjoy yourself' and treat it like a normal game. That's what I did and I loved every minute of it.

"When I was told I was coming to Hong Kong I was buzzing and now I've trained with the lads over here and made by debut against Chelsea I'm really thrilled. I'm buzzing."

Now he has had a taste of first team football, Gardner is determined to make sure he becomes an increasingly frequent member of McLeish's squad.

And, to do that, Gardner knows he must learn from some of Villa's senior pros - who have already welcomed him into the set-up with open arms.

"The players have made me so, so welcome all week and that's been great," he added. "When you see the lads every day in training, you can't help but look up to them.

"They are just tremendous role models. You see what they do in training and how hard they work and you learn things from them, in terms of quality and dedication.

"I am so, so pleased I train with them every day. You do genuinely learn something new every day. The whole experience has given me the taste for more action now, definitely.

"I want to get home, get playing again and get a ball at my feet. I am going to work 110 per cent every single day and see what comes."

Premier League
Aston Villa

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