McLeish urges Gardner to exert his influence on senior set-up
Alex McLeish has called on Gary Gardner to start exerting his considerable influence on the senior set-up.
McLeish knows all about the awesome potential of the 19-year-old, having seen him sparkle for the reserve and youth sides.
Now McLeish wants Gardner to transfer that authority into first team training on a more regular basis.
He said: "Gary is a massive fan favourite - and he's also a manager's dream.
"We're all looking for Gary to make the grade here. The signs are very good.
"He's maturing very well and as a person, he's a terrific guy to have around. He is so respectful and he respects the club he plays for too. He will go through brick walls for the club.
"He has everything. He has the looks, the ability, the stature, the physique.
"It's up to the big fella to take the reins from here.
"He is unfazed and I like that. I have told him to come into training and not be a passenger.
"I said 'don't take the easy way out, try things'. I have told him to get the tackles in and not be frightened of putting the boot in to one of the senior lads.
"I don't mean that in a nasty way. I have told him to put himself about.
"I did that as a youngster and you get a lot of respect from the senior players for doing that.
"We're looking for Gary to be a Villa star now and in the future."
Click here for Manchester City tickets.