Darron Gibson came to Everton with little in the way of fanfare, says David Martin.
In fact he came with a large amount of groaning, for fucks sakes and even worse indifference from the Everton faithful. Despite David Moyes having lots of success in taking Manchester United rejects and making them central figures at Everton Gibson was largely written off as a squad player at the absolute best by many. To be fair to Evertonians, many saw that Mikel Arteta had left and seemingly been replaced with a fringe player who had cost half a million pounds. However, it turns out that Gibson’s impact on the team would be very different too, but no less important than Mikel’s.
Trying and failing not to sound smug I was one of the few who thought he might prove to be yet another Moyes gem. Not being able to get into a Manchester United first eleven is hardly an indictment and he has always been a solid if unspectacular performer. Gibson is a seven out of ten every week kind of player rather than one that wins games single-handedly but you need that in a team . In a team that can be as inconsistent as Everton you certainly need it and it is as a result of this he has become a lynchpin and the one player that seems to make us stable.
Despite our good form of late it is blatantly obvious that we are struggling in the centre and this has coincided with Gibson’s injury. Every game even the one’s that we have been dominant in has the addendum, “We will be even better when Gibbo is back” added by most fans and this certainly appears to be the case. We miss a steady presence in front of the back four who has the positional sense, passing range and stamina to instil confidence in those behind and in front of them. Many have pointed at poor defensive performances for our inability to keep a clean sheet this season but I would also point to the absence of Gibson for many of these games as a calming influence. He certainly has a sturdy presence that will not be bypassed as easily as the frail Osman and Neville.
A lot of people call Darron Gibson a lucky player as if his Premiership win record is just a fluke. It isn’t, teams just play better when he is in them and I for one hope for his rapid return to the starting eleven.