Poor old Kieran Gibbs has had many chances to become a regular starter in the Arsenal first team but every time that Gael Clichy got injured, the young left-back rarely managed a run of more than a few games before getting injured himself.
Since making his League debut for the Gunners at the tender age of 18 he has never managed to stay fit for a full season, and last years tally of 24 League starts is the best he has achieved in the intervening 6 years at the club, but he has always shown great promise when fit enough to play.
He was awarded his first England cap in 2010 but until now he had only made four starts for the senior team (admittedly in the shadow of Ashley Cole) but Roy Hodgson has now brought him back into the fold and he started the match against San Marino along with his Arsenal team-mates. Arsene Wenger is very pleased that Kieran has finally stayed fit enough to become part of the England set up but has compared his career so far to our very own sick-note Abou Diaby.
Wenger said yesterday after Gibbs made his first appearance for England for four years: “I like it and there’s nobody more happy than me to see him in the England team again,”
“I always trusted Kieran Gibbs to have that in his locker and to see that he finally gets his chance again is great news for me.
“I think mentally he has made a step forward in the last month, by taking more responsibility and by showing his huge potential.
“It’s all there for Kieran and I believe that everybody at the club thinks it’s justice done that he’s back in the national team.
“He has had very difficult days. There’s nothing that tests your mental strength more than the repetition of injuries. We have a fierce example here, in Abou Diaby.
“Kieran has had his problems but he’s recovered every time and I’m very happy for him.”
Many Arsenal fans still think of Gibbs as a “promising youngster” as he has been on the bench for so long, but hopefully now at 25 years of age he can finally stay fit for a whole season and cement his place in the first team of Arsenal and England, but comparing him with Diaby is a little bit harsh I think!