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|Birthday||October 25, 1987|
Republic of Ireland international Gibson failed to make the grade at Manchester United and moved to Everton in January of 2012 for a fee reported to be just £500,000, rising to £2 million.
Spotted by scouts at the age of 14, Gibson travelled over to Manchester for a trial on his 15th birthday, which was successful. Having played youth football for his native Northern Ireland, Gibson was allegedly dropped from the Under-16 team for missing a meeting to attend trials at United – thought to have been a key factor in his future switch of allegiance.
He was handed his debut in October 2005 when replacing fellow youth star Lee Martin for the final 15 minutes of a 4-1 Carling Cup victory at home to Barnet. However, that was the player’s only United appearance before being loaned to United’s Belgian partners Royal Antwerp, where he came back with glowing reviews.
Another loan followed, to Wolves for the 2007-08 season. Gibson impressed at Molineux, playing 24 matches and bagging his first senior goal in a 2-3 home defeat to Burnley. After returning to Old Trafford, the powerful and athletic midfielder made an impression as he was handed starting berths in the FA and Carling Cups in 2008-09 – retaining his place in the first XI for the Carling Cup final victory over Spurs.
Gibson’s performances during the 2008-9 season were rewarded as he was given a three-year extension to his United contract, tying him to the club until at least 2012. And the following season, Gibson repaid Ferguson’s faith by stepping into the midfield breach on a number of occasions. However, Gibson’s stock appeared to plummet after a series of unconvincing displays and he left the club to join Everton midway through the 2011-12 season after failing to cement a place in the side.
Strengths: Gibson’s positional sense and sharp shooting highlighted him as a star of the future, though he has yet to really live up to the hype.
Weaknesses: A shortage of pace has caused problems for the midfielder, as has a lack of experience. Games can sometimes pass him by and he has a tendency to drift in and out of proceedings.
Career high: An accomplished all-round display in the 2011 Champions League semi-final second leg against Schalke was capped with a goal.
Career low: A first Champions League goal – against Bayern Munich in the 2010 quarter-finals – was tempered by an otherwise anonymous performance, leading to his early substitution in thea ggregate defeat. in April 2011, he was forced off Twitter within a few hours of signing up after being lambasted by United fans.
Style: Intelligent, composed midfielder, who posseses a fearsome long shot.
Quotes: “He has similar attributes to Michael Carrick. He’s a good passer – both simple and penetrative – and makes good runs into the box. He’s a big, strong lad.” Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen hails Gibson’s potential.
Trivia: Gibson was once asked in an interview, ‘who is the best band ever?’ His answer was Westlife. He also revealed that his hero is former Manchester United captain Roy Keane and that his favourite meat is chicken.