Gardner closes in on return
Defender is now back in training
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: February 28, 2008 11:32am
Gardner: Yet to play for Toffees
Everton defender Anthony Gardner is recovering well from a recent ankle problem and has resumed full training.
He is yet to make an appearance for the Toffees since arriving on loan from Tottenham in January, but finally appears to be on the road to recovery.
His rehabilitation has been closely watched by club physio Mick Rathbone, and he feels that the England international has settled well into his new surroundings despite the frustrating spell on the sidelines.
"I watched Anthony do his first training session on Friday," Rathbone told the club's official website.
"Anthony had an operation in early January after he injured his ankle in the Uefa Cup against Getafe in October so he's not played much football.
"I've had him training with me over the past couple of weeks. He's training great, he's done all that we've asked of him and he seems to be really enjoying it."
With the Toffees currently leading the race for fourth spot in the Premier League, and the resulting UEFA Champions League place that brings, Gardner may find it difficult to break into the first-team even when he does manage to regain full fitness.
The current competition for places at Goodison Park is a positive thing though according to midfielder Leon Osman, as he believes the situation is helping to keep everyone on their toes.
"Even scoring a goal doesn't keep you in the team these days. It highlights the strength we have," he told Everton's official website.
"I think everyone's fit and there are a few players really chomping at the bit to get back into the team and that is making us perform better on the pitch.
"It is going well for us on the pitch. We are winning games and looking strong."