Sunderland’s Craig Gardner hails boss Martin O’Neill as a ‘top, top manager’

Craig Gardner insists has no grudges against Martin O'Neill.
Craig Gardner insists has no grudges against Martin O'Neill.
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CRAIG Gardner says he holds no grudges against Martin O’Neill for selling him while manager of Aston Villa.

The midfielder has worked his way into the new Sunderland boss’s plans second time around.

Gardner, left, was just a young player coming through the ranks at Villa Park when he was allowed to move on to Birmingham City in a deal worth £3million in January 2010.

The move worked out for the then 23-year-old, who went on to become a first-team regular at St Andrew’s, scoring 10 goals in 37 appearances last season, as well as being part of the team that won the Carling Cup.

Gardner said of O’Neill: “Some people say he’s a genius, some people say he’s lucky, but he can’t be lucky because he does it every time.

“He’s just a top bloke and a top, top manager.”

Read Craig Gardner’s thoughts, plus O’Neill’s thoughts on Gardner, in full in today’s Sportmail.