Along with Seb Larsson and David Vaughan, all three were signed from clubs that were relegated from the Premier League last term.
Yet, the former Birmingham man feels the strain of playing under the threat of the drop last year helped to generate a fighting spirit within him and his newly signed team-mates.
And it is a trait he hopes they will be able to generate throughout the Black Cats dressing room.
"Our teams may have gone down but we're all Premier League players and that's where we belong," Gardner told Sunderland's official website.
"That's why Sunderland have signed us - we all want to do well and not roll over and let teams walk all over us.
"I'm sure the lads here have that never say die attitude and we will crack on this year."