Daily Archives: October 8, 2013
As the saying goes, there are only three certainties in life: Death, taxes and the England National team losing on penalty shootouts.
Down the years, England has produced some quality squads but they have always failed to live up to the huge expectations placed on them in the major football tournaments they’ve participated in. Since winning the FIFA World Cup in their turf as far back as 1966, England has never gone beyond the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinal stages, England were ousted by Uruguay (4-2) in the 1954 World Cup, Brazil (3-1) in 1962, Argentina (2-1) in 1986, Brazil (2-1) in 2002 and Portugal (pens) in 2006. Their record in the European Championships is equally atrocious, as they’ve only managed a third place finish on two occasions (1968 and 1996), and they have crashed out of the Group Stages times without number.
However, England has been blessed a long line of talented players in a series of positions, and Ashley Cole has manned the left back slot since 2001, making 105 appearances during this period. Leighton Baines has been touted as the heir apparent to Ashley Cole’s throne but with the fullback suffering a rib injury, he’s going to miss out on England’s crucial qualifiers against Poland and Montenegro.
In the wake of Ashley Cole’s injury, England’s manager, Roy Hodgson, has called up Kieran Gibbs to replace Cole. Gibbs began his England career with the Under-19 squad that crashed out of the 2008 Under-19 Euros then he advanced to the England Under-21 side alongside the likes of Theo Walcott, Mark Noble, Joe Hart, Adam Johnson and Micah Richards that finished as runners up in the 2009 Under-21 European Championships.
Gibbs made England debut against Hungary in 2010, but his countless injury problems of the past have thwarted potential call ups times without number. For those that don’t know, the 2012/13 was the first season Kieran Gibbs had over 30 games for Arsenal in an entire campaign.
He’s a player that has become synonymous with injuries and he showed that yet again this season, forcing his manager to delve into the transfer market to sign Nacho Monreal when he nursed a thigh strain for six weeks.
Gibbs was highly impressive last season and his output on the final third has drastically improved as well, with the Englishman having five assists to his name this season. For a considerable chunk of the campaign, Gibbs was a mainstay in the team but when he suffered a lengthy lay off, the manager signed an experienced Spanish left back, that has brought stiff competition between both players, which also brought about stellar performances from both players, for the good of the team.
He also managed to get some goals and his strike against Swansea in last season’s FA Cup was better with each passing replay. This season, Gibbs has also opened his goalscoring account this season with his strike against Fenerbahce and his stellar performances this season has seen Monreal relegated to substitute appearances, but he made his first start in the Capital One clash with West Brom.
His consistency and quality has been a majot highlight this season, and he has managed to balance his defensive and atatcking play superbly. He recently celebrated his 24th birthday with his twin, Jaydon, seems like a damn decent young lad, with a good sense of humility and a dedication to his profession
With Leighton Baines in fine form this season, he’s more likely to start than Gibbs but many Arsenal fans wouldn’t care, because they would prefer to see Gibbs back in one piece. A call up is no less than he deserves and I wish him all the best of luck as he represents his motherland.
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