Gibson confident he can justify 'next Scholes' tag
DARRON Gibson believes he is ready to step up to the plate for Manchester United and for Ireland this season, as he basks in the gushing praise of his boss Alex Ferguson in the wake of their triumph over an Airtricity League XI in the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night.
Ferguson drew parallels between Gibson and Paul Scholes after the Derryman played an instrumental role in the Red Devils' midfield as they hammered Damien Richardson's side 7-1 in the opening soccer game at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road venue.
"We expect Darron to play a big part this season. Last season he made his mark for me by scoring six goals," he said.
"When Paul Scholes was Darron's age, he was getting 15, but playing a lot more games and I like to think if I gave Darron 20 games or so he'd give me 10 goals back.
"Without doubt he's got the ability to be a top player. He's got the power, the physique, the shooting ability, everything he needs to be a very good player indeed," enthused Ferguson before his side jetted back to Manchester ahead of their Community Shield clash with Chelsea on Sunday.
High praise, indeed. But Gibson believes he is worth it, and thinks he can prove it for Manchester United this season having failed to nail down a regular first team spot in the last campaign.
"I think this year is even bigger than last year for me.
"I think I showed everyone what I could do last season," said the 22-year-old.
"I've got one foot in the door and hopefully this year I can kick on and play a lot more games and establish myself.
"Obviously, getting the games last year and scoring a few goals settles the nerves a bit and I do feel a lot more comfortable going in there.
"When you go in there first, sometimes you can be overawed by the big players, but I've gradually worked my way into the squad, so, hopefully, I can play a lot more."
Gibson's international career has also been a stop-start one thus far as he was third-choice central-midfielder to Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews in Ireland's doomed World Cup campaign.
But, with Whelan missing out through injury in next Wednesday's friendly with Argentina, Gibson thinks it is a big opportunity for him to stake his claim for a starting berth for the forthcoming European Championship qualification campaign.
"Yeah, obviously with Glenn Whelan getting injured during the week I think it gives me a chance to show what I can do, so hopefully everything goes well next week," he said.