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The 20-year-old missed seven months of action after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in the first match of the season, but has returned to training a month ahead of schedule

After a spell of seven months out injured, Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner has returned to training.

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Originally, the 20-year-old had been expected to miss eight months of action after sustaining the injury against West Ham during the first match of the season, but he has returned to training ahead of schedule.

The youngster was back in training on Wednesday and he could not hide his joy, taking to Twitter and telling all that he was back before thanking people for their support.

He said: "After seven months of hard work, first day back training today!

"What a feeling! Hard work pays off! Time to kick on thanks for all your support! Really appreciate it!"

Paul Lambert's side are three points above 18th-placed Wigan after Saturday's 3-2 win over QPR at Villa Park.

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