He has spent spells on loan at Royal Antwerp and Wolves but really made his name on the final day of last season when he scored the only goal as a massively understrength United team beat a Hull team needing a win to ensure their safety. The goal, a thunderous long range effort, was a precursor as to what would follow as this season he has blasted away both Spurs and West Ham with long range goals but is there more to his game than that?
As a central midfielder he lacks mobility and apart from his long range shooting which in itself can be wayward at times has no other discernible talents, a jack of all trades if you will. Many have complained he is not United quality but he has improved every season and is improving with every game he plays this season too thus it is no surprise that of all the youngsters at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson claims he is the closest to making the jump to the first team.
At 22, Gibson will be pleased that he is making first team appearances but he has not won over all of Old Trafford as it is more than obvious that he is still learning. Some feel he is but a squad player or that he could do well at a lesser club but not United but Gibson has hardly been given a fair chance to show what he can do.
The problem facing Gibson is that he is so far down the pecking order, when will he ever get a chance to prove himself? Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs and arguably Anderson are all ahead of him and I presume that upon his return (when ever that is!) Hargreaves will be too. It is easy to forget that he has only appeared 9 times for United this term and only 2 of those being a Premier League starts.
United have faced this problem before with the likes of Darren Fletcher, who now looks the part after being given first team experience as United went through a transitional period in the middle of the decade. But the difference is the competition Gibson faces is a lot stronger than the players Fletcher had to compete with, so where Fletcher was bled into the team and United are reaping the rewards now, Gibson it appears will not have the same luxury.
A central midfielder is the fulcrum of the game, it is a not a position easily mastered so the fact that Gibson does not look the part now at 22 with just 24 first team appearances to his name should not worry us. One can easily point to a player like Lampard who did not look anything like the player his is now at the age of 22.
Midfielders don’t reach their peaks well into their 20s whilst Gibson is just 22. Fletcher is an example of a player that has come into his own after questions were raised about his ability so I wouldn’t be too quick to judge Gibson yet. Although talk of him as the replacement for this player or that player may be premature with more games under his belt, who knows what he could develop into.