Sport Soccer

Saturday 20 January 2018

Ben Gibson is keen to repay Gareth Southgate's faith in him

England's Ben Gibson, pictured, wants to repay the faith his childhood hero Gareth Southgate has shown in him
England's Ben Gibson, pictured, wants to repay the faith his childhood hero Gareth Southgate has shown in him

Ben Gibson is desperate to prove his worth with England and repay the faith shown in him by boyhood idol Gareth Southgate.

Middlesbrough's Premier League return did not go to plan last term, but their captain shone brightly as they meekly slipped back into the second tier.

Gibson flourished in Boro's backline, leading both to admiring glances from other top-flight clubs and a maiden senior England call-up.

The 24-year-old was drafted in midway through March's meet-up and is now hoping to make his debut, having been called up for Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Scotland and friendly in France.

"Any opportunity to represent your country for anyone will be an amazing achievement," Gibson said.

"For me, that's no different. The first call-up from the start is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

"I want to sort of make a mark on the camp. I want the lads to think of me as a good person, I want to show Gareth I'm comfortable and that I can play at this level.

"If given the opportunity at any point to showcase what I can do on the pitch, then that will also be fantastic."

Gibson knows Southgate well having played for him at Under-21 level and admired him for years growing up as a Boro fan.

"He was my role model, really," Gibson told BBC Radio 5 live. "Someone I looked up to as a player, then obviously as a manager for Middlesbrough.

"He was the captain who delivered our first piece of silverware after 128 years, so I loved him as a player and as a fan I wanted to be him.

"They actually say don't ever meet your heroes, but when I met him and he was the manager of the Under-21s he was brilliant with me.

"We should have done better for him in the European Championships (two years ago) when given the opportunity, but I loved playing under him.

"I thought he was a very good manager and more importantly a great person.

"He has been given the opportunity now - rightly in my opinion - and I believe he'll do very well, so just grateful that he has called me up and now I want to repay his faith."

Gibson spoke eloquently about Southgate but clammed up on matters related to Middlesbrough given his focus on England.

"Look, for now, all I'm thinking about is this England camp," the nephew of Boro chairman Steve Gibson said.

"I've got an opportunity to show myself against and with the best players from our country.

"So I can't think past that or about anything other than that. That would be disrespectful to the badge, to these players and to the opportunity that Gareth has given me."

Press Association

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