Gardner excited about Villa's new season prospects

Aston Villa midfielder Craig Gardner is excited about their new season prospects.

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He said: "I think next season is a massive one - not just for me but for Villa. We finished sixth last season and just missed out on an automatic UEFA Cup spot but we've got the Intertoto to play for.

"We're back in action next month 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 on to 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."

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