Three players who have gone out on loan this season will return to Aston Villa this week and will be asked to report back to training for the remaining 2-3 weeks. Tim Sherwood wants to assess the talents of Gardner, Bennett and Robinson before making a decision on their futures. Sherwood wants to analysis their traits and decided whether or not they have a place in Aston Villa’s team next season. Gary Gardner and Joe Bennett who played for Nottingham Forest and Brighton respectfully have all returned to Aston Villa with their club seasons already concluded. Callum Robinson will feature for Preston North End in their play-off games in the coming weeks.
Both Bennett and Gardner have 1 year left on their contract, and should they not feature in Sherwood’s plans both players won’t be short of suitors. Bennett has had a decent season for struggling Brighton and Watford has been linked with Bennett. While Nottingham Forest are keen on keeping Gardner.
‘It gives me an opportunity to have a look at them. I think it helps them out, helps the club out, helps every one out, for me to be able to do that. They haven’t got to wait till pre-season for me to give them a decision.
‘I remember seeing Gary Gardner years ago, he scored twice in an 18s game I watched against Arsenal – box to box player. I’ve watched him a couple times this season, he has been playing as more of a holding midfield player.
‘He’s just like his brother, likes to shoot anywhere on the field, both feet, good ball striker, I need to assess him at close hands.
‘I will know within ten days, two weeks whether he’s for me or not. I’m hoping he is and I’m hoping Bennett is as well – and Robinson depending on when he comes back.’
‘I think it’s been a very good loan. Simon Grayson and Preston have been excellent for him. He’s played first and foremost but he’s done well.’ – Tim Sherwood
Its positive that Sherwood is willing to give the likes of Bennett and Gardner a chance to impress the the new manager and sneak themselves back into Sherwood’s plans for next season. Unfortunately neither of these players can feature for Aston Villa in our remaining few games as neither player is registered. I think that Sherwood would be keen on keeping Gardner, I still believe he is a quality player and has scored some cracking goals for Nottingham Forest and has adjusted his play to a more defensive manner. Bennett would be competing and be compared to Villa’s other 3 left-backs, Kieran Richardson, Cissokho and Luna. Where does Bennett stand between those 3? If Bennett has matured enough he may have risen above Luna, so far it doesn’t seem as though Sherwood is convinced by Cissokho. But as of now, I think Bennett will be leaving the club at the end of the season. Robinson will certainly be rated by Sherwood, he is a young striker who has talent. He will be given some game time next season.
Meanwhile Darren Bent has not been asked to return to training after his loan with Derby has expired. But the situation around Darren Bent is much more complicated. Bent’s contract expires at the end of the season and Sherwood’s recent quotes neither support or reject Bent’s chances of a new contract. Bent is currently earning £70,000 and it will remain to be seen if Sherwood would rather spend that wage money elsewhere. Talk between Bent and Sherwood have already occurred but will most likely meet one more time after Aston Villa’s campaign ends in June.
“(Some of them) will come back before the end of the season. I know all about Darren so he’ll go on holiday (now). I don’t need him back, I can’t play him any way. These other boys I need to find out about, I need to assess them at close hands. I don’t need to know anything about Darren Bent.”
Fans may interpret this quote in two different ways, the first interpretation is that Sherwood rates Bent. He knows all about Bent, he terrorised Premier League defenders not too long ago and is a natural goal scorer. There is no need for Sherwood to assess Bent and knows what sort of player he is. Bent would most likely reduce his wages if he is keen on staying on with Aston Villa. The other interpretation is that Sherwood knows that Bent is not in his plans and his presence would not be beneficial. Perhaps is a sign to other clubs that Bent is available and give Bent to opportunity to begin negotiating with other clubs. I’m not sure where Sherwood stands, but I think it’s time to let Bent go. He doesn’t add anything to Aston Villa and I rate Kozak, Agbonlahor and Benteke above Bent. Callum Robinson is an up and coming player, I’d rather see Robinson gain more playing time in favour of Bent.