Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs is at an important stage of his career, according to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The England defender, beset by niggling injuries over the years, was a standout performer as the Gunners beat Galarasaray last night.
Wenger believes that Gibbs is moving into “second gear” now as he learns to trust his body and his talent. Like several other Arsenal youngsters, Kieran Gibbs has spent quite a lot of time on the sidelines with injuries. However, last season was his breakout one; he recorded his highest number of appearances for the Gunners last season, and was also a consistent performer.
The 25-year-old was also sidelined during the first few weeks of this season with an injury, but returned in style. He turned in a strong performance in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham, and also last night, and Wenger believes there is much more to come from him.
It looks to me that he’s going into second gear now and he realises that he can trust his body, he can trust his talent. On Saturday he also showed the personality to impose himself and took the game by the scruff of the neck for a long period in the second half. That’s what you want to see from him because all the talent is there.
He was [a bit inhibited by his injuries] for a period. What doesn’t help is when you’re in and out because of injury. You need a consistent presence in the team.
If you don’t have a consistent presence at the top level, you do not have the confidence that makes you feel you belong to this world.
Wenger also said that he sees similarities between Gibbs and former Arsenal and England man Ashley Cole. The left back famously left Arsenal for local rivals Chelsea, but Wenger feels that Cole was a great player and so is Kieran Gibbs.
It’s a good example to follow because Ashley’s top [quality]. You see stories about Ashley Cole but on the day of a game, when it mattered and when you had to be there, he was always there. You have to respect that.
Kieran Gibbs is a guaranteed starter in the injury ravaged Arsenal defence, and fans will be hoping that the Englishman manages to stay fit this season. If we lose Gibbs, the only other option we have is youngster Hector Bellerin. While he seems like a great prospect, we need our first team players fully fit to be able to mount a serious challenge for the title.