Date: 11th May 2017 at 6:20pm
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Craig Gardner`s loan at Blues has today been made into a permanent deal, with the midfielder extending his stay at St. Andrews for a further three years.

The deal also comes with the option of a further year so I wouldn’t back against Gardner ending his career at his boyhood club.

When he rejoined the club in January, I think we all had high hopes that Gardner was going to come in and really improve us as a team.

His past with the club led us to expect him to come straight in and have the impact that he had when he was with us in the Premier League days.

As we know, Gianfranco Zola`s reign went terribly wrong and it nearly cost us but for the intervention of Harry Redknapp who looks set to continue as manager.

The whole team underperformed since the turn of the year but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Gardner`s performances have been underwhelming to say the least.

The circumstances have been difficult, I’ll give him that, but I just don’t think we’ve seen enough from him since rejoining.

One thing that’s stood out the most has been his set piece delivery. The amount of times we’ve seen his cross go straight into the goalkeepers hands or fail to beat the first man has been countless.

I think the fact that he is a Blues fan and he knows what it’s like to be one of us has somewhat let him off the hook a little.

We all saw what it meant to him when we secured safety on Sunday but I wouldn’t say it’s been down to his influence on the field, far from it in fact.

The quality you would expect from a player that, previously, had never played outside of the Premier League just hasn’t been there.

His influence off the pitch, however, would’ve definitely rallied the troops and I think he played a vital role in that sense.

But, I still expect a lot more to come from Gardner next season and he really needs to show up. If it was any other player, then the criticism would’ve been twice as worse.

I still think that he can be a key player for us particularly under a manager like Redknapp so hopefully we`ll see some top displays from him next season.

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13 Replies to “Gardner underwhelming since Blues return”

  • Totally agree, whats more is the fact that he has signed a 3 year deal. Particularly agree with your comments on his set piece delivery, its been awful. Based on his performances so far he is a squad player at best for the coming season

  • Let’s not forget he hadn’t played for a long time before joining us. Then he had to endure Zola’s tactics. Give him a full pre season and hopefully he’ll be back to his best.

  • Yes Rob, fair point about Zola’s tactics but I hoped he’d still stand out more than he did. He just looked ordinary

  • In terms of open play he isnt the best passer of the ball but he has earned his corn by getting stuck in along with his ability to hit the ball well from distance. This is what we got last time and its what Sunderland and the Baggies got, so lets not get carried away with what we expect. Sure he wasn’t up to much in our run in and maybe certain circumstances dictated this so just getting back the reliable Gardner of old will be a decent squad player next season.

  • Zola’s tactics. And being played out of position would not have helped. A full pre season and he will be fine.

  • Gardner I think will be used at right back at times making him a useful squad player a la Spector.WBA used him well.

  • What will be interesting is what Harry does with Donaldson,Jukey and Cotterill. With players coming in,I don’t see any of these making a shout for a top six attempt.

  • Brooklyn, The Don will be valuable from the bench and Juke needs either service or a partner.

  • Rob,fair point. However we are talking about a very different situation now. Harry will want pace in a lot of positions and up front will be his priority,someone to pair up with Adams.Imo,I just don’t see Donaldson or Jukey spearheading anything apart,as you say,coming off the bench.

  • In my opinion,Harry will have replacements in for Shotton,MK,Maghoma,Gleeson,Donaldson.As for Frei and Keita and Stewart,expect quick exits.

  • Brooklyn glad you ant making the decisions become you just ripped out the spine of the hole team.

  • Waycool.totally understand your comments. However,HR will change things big time and the team put out against Bristol will,imo,have little resemblance to what he puts out in August.

  • Exactly my thoughts on Gardner as I said under Robs thread. I hope Rob is right and I’m forced to eat humble pie but somehow I doubt if that will be the case.

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