Some much-needed perspective on Darron Gibson

darron gibson

Darron Gibson is no closed book. Apparently, the Irishman, in the aftermath to Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham, was the only United player to applaud the visiting fans. What that immediately suggests is something quite heartening about Gibson and not so much about his team mates. Perhaps, the others were left frustrated by events that unfolded on the pitch; be it United’s failure to score another or, more likely, Lee Bowyer’s controversial goal. Gibson might have been quite peeved too, but looked every bit thankful for Sir Alex’s decision to hand him a rare league start, and dare I say it, pleased with his overall efforts. After all, it was his pass that had set up Dimitar Berbatov to put United in front.

Yet, some were not so pleased. In fact, fans had vented their anger about ‘that podge Darron Blast-the-ball Gibson’ (to quote a Guardian user) in their numbers. In truth, while Gibson’s performance was hardly of the inspired sort, he certainly wasn’t the worst player on the pitch. In fact, and to quote another Guardian user, he was hardly ‘fucking woeful’ at St Andrews. Was he made scapegoat for United’s shortcomings? No, not quite – but he was very close to being so.

His United career so far has many similarities to that of Darren Fletcher, another who was much-maligned at this point. The typical response would be that Fletcher is technically superior, but this is no question about technique, or ability. Fletcher hardly won anyone over in his first few seasons at the club. Heck, the Scot had gone through much worse. There was even a story of how a cheeky fan had put him ‘on sale’ for 10p on Ebay, giving an indication as to how he was perceived by United fans then. Fletcher has since become recognised as one of the best on these shores. Gibson needs time.

The criticisms are not justified. It’s worth noting that Gibson has only made four league appearances this season (and he’s only started that many in the whole of 2010), and so it seems rather bizarre to call him the usual or to ask to sell him. It’s hardly enough games to judge him on. Actually, take the game against Bayern last season, where, if not for a spirited fight back from the German outfit to win the game on away goals, things might have been so different in Gibson’s case.

What might have been his finest hour turned out to be nothing of sort. On that night at Old Trafford, Gibson looked every bit of a Manchester United player. Originally it seemed a bizarre selection to start him in a do-or-die match, but it soon looked an inspired one as he scored inside three minutes and he continued to set the tempo in a blistering first-half. Unfortunately, for Gibson, Arjen Robben had other ideas.

Gibson is practically screaming out for more games. He needs the gift of the time, and probably less of the berating. In a Carling Cup game where United were ordinary, Gibson himself was extraordinary, scoring two (of the trademark long-range sort) in a 2-0 win and paving the way top another domestic cup success. “He’s the one player from our club who can get goals from outside the box,” Ferguson said shortly after. “He’s got tremendous power; the second goal in particular was fantastic.”

The human mind is not complex and is no enigma. The act of being irritated by another is by them having an annoying trait, and in Gibson’s case, that is shooting, well, almost all the time. Even up to a point where United fans even sarcastically cry ‘shooot’ whenever he approaches the penalty area. Games against Bayern, Spurs and Hull City, where he scored a cracker on the last day of the 08-09 season, are examples of what he could do when given time and space. While it’s frustrating at times, it doesn’t justify selling Gibson. He, like Fletcher did in his early career, still has a lot to offer at the age of 23. I know it, Sir Alex knows it and he knows it (just shoot bloody less, yeah?!).

_ _ _

I’d also like to say Happy New Year to all our readers (and Darron Gibson)!


22 responses to “Some much-needed perspective on Darron Gibson”

  1. jonssonmufc says :

    Agree on every word there.

    One thing I have noticed is that he has the ability to control a game, he can cross the ball like Scholes (that surprises me more people don’t notice) and he can shoot. But he just needs confidence, he tends to hide behind whoever is alongside him on the midfield (Fletch or Carrick mostly). I think SAF is just waiting for him to take that extra step.

  2. KevinMUFC says :

    Very well written. I agree completely. Reminds me very much of a blog I recently wrote about Carrick. I’ll stand by and defend every United player as long as their in the red shirt.

  3. RedNev says :

    He should go on to be a reasonable Premier League player, BUT… i wish people would stop going on about his bloody shooting!. He gets a shot on target about once every forty attempts, the rest trouble the corner flag.

  4. Essex says :

    Not a Man Utd fan myself but found this a good read. 2 things though.

    Why are you bothering quoting fans from the Guardian? I doubt they’ve actually been to a football match.

    And, Fletcher recognised as one of the best on these shores? Are you on crack?

    • The Gaffer says :

      Why are you bothering quoting fans from the Guardian?

      A: Listing examples of criticisms.

      Fletcher recognised as one of the best on these shores?

      A: Yes.

      Are you on crack?

      A: Possibly.

  5. nani4ever says :

    the problem with gibson is not shooting, its his ball retention skills, his awareness of the game and the ability to pick a pass that are lacking, he is too trigger happy when near the box, while the situation would call for an instinctive pass.

  6. Ricky says :

    Excellent post! I just don’t think most people understand how difficult it is for a player,particularly a young, unestablished player, to perform without a consistent run of games. Add the fact that he is being asked to do so in the toughest football league known to man and while wearing the famous United jersey. We often make comparisons to Scholes and other ex United greats when in fact Gibson is just Gibson, and being Gibson is ok by me. Why, because i happen to think that the boy has real talent and when given a consistent run of matches I think he will come good. Give the boy a chance that he is every bit as important to United as Fletcher.

  7. The Gaffer says :

    Cheers for the comments guys.

    jonssonmufc: Agree, he can do more than just shoot – certainly a good tackler of the ball and has an eye for the pass. Confidence is an issue, yes.

    KevinMUFC + RedNev: Good comments. I think it’s important we do stick by our players; especially Gibson, a player who will to continue to improve.

    nani4ever: I agree/disagree. Gibson’s ball retention skills aren’t exactly great, no, and that’s one part of his game I agree he could work on. That, of course, ties in with awareness. Think he has a decent pass though.

  8. Anthony says :

    you are being too kind, the lad is not goo enough for UTD and never will be

  9. Sleepy Nik says :

    This is brilliant! “Why are you bothering quoting fans from the Guardian? I doubt they’ve actually been to a football match.” I have blogged on the Guardian for 6 years now, and have met some of the most knowledgeable football fans (check Santapelota’s blog e.g.) in the world; How utterly cliched and ignorant of you…

    Talking of GU, popped on to check DG’s “retention” stats of late, IMO a key facet to his game (whilst still a work in progress admittedly):

    25/26 completed passes in 20 mins v Sunderland

    v Brum, completing more passes than any other player bar Carrick – here compared to Giggs for e.g.

    • The Gaffer says :


      As ever, Sleepy, excellent comment. Actually, taken aback by those. As you say, ball retention is certainly something Gibbo can work on anyway, although impressed by those chalkboards. Suggests Gibson offers more than just the ‘hard shot’. 2nd one as impressive; but these things seemed to be ignored and many are quick to point out how he wastes opportunities instead. It’s a shame really.

      P.S Roberticus from Santapelota does a sterling job 😉

  10. Easter says :

    How much time should he get? How many games should we carry him for? Have u ever seen him play well?

    Seriously can’t believe anyone would write an article to defend this clown.

    Gibson’s only hope is to go out on loan and prove me wrong because every united game is iimportant.

    • jonssonmufc says :

      I bet you were saying the exact same thing about Fletcher a few years back?

    • Easter says :

      Is that the only arguement? Fletcher was shit but turned out well, so Gibson might. What about the 100s of the players we’ve had who were shit and stayed shit?

      Plus I can remember fletcher having the odd game where he looked like he might be good enough. Fletchers main problem was that he had keano killing his confidence (as he did with ronaldo). Whos doin that for gibson? Himself coz he knows he’s not good enough

  11. Sleepy Nik says :

    tbf to Mr Easter, Erik, I think everybody was bar me! :))
    (Sorry, couldn’t help but sneak that in, as I was roundly abused by fellow match-goers (friends dont worry) and GU bloggers in the last 7 years for saying that he would go on to be one of the finest CM’s in Europe!)

    Not exactly saying the same about Gibson, but still, seems to have the potential to make it in the higher echelons. People often forget that central midfielders develop at a later age given the nature and responsibility of the position; Therefore making the “hes only 2 years younger than Rooney” debate redundant…

    • jonssonmufc says :

      Why am I not surprised you said that?? 🙂

      Yeah, of course. All I’m saying we should have learned our lesson and trust SAF instead of making rash conclusions again.

  12. aaramz says :

    Really not a Gibbo fan but I agree on every word I read. What I do know is Fergie always has that thing of being patient with young players he knows are good
    (eg of Fletcher, Nani and even Ronaldo) until they prove otherwise (eg Richardson), So lets be patient and get behind him and see. He would come around.

  13. billyboneshaker says :

    don’t exactly love Gibson but I think I agree with the post. We need to give our younger players some time. Also, I think he wasn’t that bad in games against Birmingham and West Brom.

  14. notafan says :

    To be honest, Fletcher, while a decent player, will never be world class. Could you compare any of the current crop to the likes of Keane, Robson, Ince, Scholes? Not even close. We still hold high hopes that Anderson might come good, but as far as Carrick and Fletcher are concerned we know their limitations.

    Whats frustrating for the fans is that Gibson isnt, and never will be a top class midfielder. He just isnt good enough for United, or any of the top teams. He may well be a decent squad player but we need, and have needed for several years now, a true great in midfield to match the likes of Essien, Fabregas, Gerrard, Xavi etc. He is 23 years old (older than Anderson) and yet does not seem to have progressed at all.

    Why should we waste valuable playing time on Gibson when there are many talented young midfielders out there who actually have a chance of being great.

  15. richard says :

    Clearly you are Notafan. Less you forget, United have won many trophies with the likes of Phil Neville and Nicky Butt. While I loved them both, neither where better than Gibson.

    • Easter says :

      Are u for real??? Gibson better than butt or Phil Neville???? Seriously ur on fuckin acid, that’s the biggest load of bollocks I’ve ever heard in my life.

      Just checked to see if this was the same idiot who just posted a blog defending Bebe, suppose he’s better than kanchelskis, eh?

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