The current Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs has a long way to go to achieve the same level of success as the former Gunner Ashley Cole and hopefully he will not decide to abandon the club that made him. From what Gibbs said this week about the debt he owes to Arsene Wenger suggests that is unlikely, at least.
And his manager has returned the favour, as an ESPN report reveals, by praising Gibbs and comparing him favourably to Cole, who has been an FA cup winner a record seven times. Wenger says that the 25-year old is now starting to show his true class after a few years of being disrupted by injuries. The Frenchman was also full of praise for his former defender, at least for his on field actions.
Wenger also spoke of another former Arsenal left back Gael Clichy and revealed that he only let the French defender leave the club because he had great confidence in Gibbs and wanted to give him the opportunity to play and prove himself, a decision which he now sees paying off.
Wenger said, “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.
“He was a bit inhibited [by 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.
“I have talked to him many times. We try always to show him confidence and, look, I let Gael Clichy go [to Manchester City] because Gibbs was a young English left-back. That’s the main reason I let Clichy go. I wanted to give him [Gibbs] a chance.
“He’s such a great potential because he can dribble as well. When he arrived at the club he was 16 and he was a winger, midfielder, and I saw that potential didn’t really come out. I saw he was intelligent and maybe I could transform him into a defender. It was a bit similar to Ashley Cole.
“It’s a good example for him to follow Ashley because he is top quality. You see [negative] 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.”
Wenger certainly seems to have a knack of producing top quality left backs. Let’s hope that we finally keep hold of one and that Gibbs can stay injury free and fulfil his potential. With Leighton Baines struggling to repeat his club form on the international stage, how long before Gibbs starts to play more often for England?