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How Kieran Gibbs went from the future of England’s defence to a Championship left-back in four years

The last time England played Switzerland Gibbs was touted as a long term solution in England's backline.

Something has been wrong at the Emirates for a long time.

And yes unfortunately we are still talking about Arsene Wenger.

What happened to the players he brought through in recent years plateauing at a very good standard before ever reaching the top?

Who could have predicted they’d be at West Brom and West Ham these days?

AFP
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Who could have predicted they’d be at West Brom and West Ham these days?

You can say Jack Wilshere had *that* game against Barcelona but he was last spotted as part of the slowest midfield in the Premier League at West Ham.

Meanwhile since Kieran Gibbs last played for England he has gone from a youngster with a bright future for Arsenal and the national side to a Championship left-back.

Gibbs was an unused substitute for the Three Lions the last time they played Switzerland and with tomorrow’s friendly at Wembley we suddenly wondered how his career had spiralled so badly.

Back when everything was possible

PA:Empics Sport
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Back when everything was possible

Gibbs came through the Arsenal academy and made it to the first team by the time he was 18.

The left back’s career was railroaded by a broken metatarsal in 2009 ruling him out for the season only for Gibbs to come back strong and retake his place in the Gunners first team.

After scoring his first goal for Arsenal in 2011 Gibbs went on to boss the left back role at the club for the next three years, which coincided with the majority of his England call-ups.

Of course there were some bumps on the way, like when he was wrongly shown a red card for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s handball.


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The past and the future

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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The past and the future

As part of the furniture for the England youth teams it was expected that Gibbs would step up to the senior team.

Fabio Capello capped him in 2010 to secure his international allegiance but he wasn’t seen in an England shirt again until Roy Hodgson was in charge three years later.

He played in two of England’s World Cup 2014 qualifiers and looked like he could have snatched a place in England’s back four at the tournament.

Sadly, Gibbs didn’t make the cut and would go on to feature in several more England squads until the last of his call-ups in 2016.

That kit was lush

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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That kit was lush

But the addition of Nacho Monreal saw Gibbs’ first team opportunities begin to dry up as Wenger opted for the Spaniard’s reliability.

After just 22 appearances in all competitions in 2016-17 it was finally time for him to leave Arsenal after 10 years a the club.

In retrospect a move to West Brom for just shy of £7m wasn’t the best transfer for a player who was still a good standard Premier League defender.

A strong coaching voice

Reuters
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A strong coaching voice

Within 18 months Gibbs had gone from wearing the captain’s armband at Arsenal to turning out against the likes of Rotherham and Millwall in the Championship.

Gibbs made 33 league appearances for the Baggies last season as part of a defence that conceded 56 goals and finished bottom of the table.

With the ensuing relegation Gibbs had gone from an England match against France in 2016 to a 2-1 home defeat to Bolton on the opening day of this season.

Ouch.

Add this to the ‘loads of defenders who can’t touch Andres Iniesta’ photo file

Getty Images - Getty
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Add this to the ‘loads of defenders who can’t touch Andres Iniesta’ photo file

West Brom are in with a chance of making the play-offs this season and maybe a period to regain his confidence is exactly what Gibbs needs.

Now 28, it doesn’t look like Gibbs will recapture the form that saw him called-up to the England side.

And it will be especially difficult with Luke Shaw and Danny Rose already battling it out for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.


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