Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Gibson unfazed by Dumphy criticism
Derry's Manchester United midfielder, Darron Gibson, has hit back at criticism directed at his performance during his full international debut for Ireland against Cyprus in Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier at Croke Park.
The 20 years-old from Barr’s Lane was a shock inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni’s starting line-up having impressed the Italian with his performance in Ireland’s exhibition match against Nottingham Forest last Thursday evening, the new Irish boss electing to select him ahead of the Sunderland pairing, Andy Reid and Liam Millar, for the crucial clash with the Cypriots.
Gibson delivered a solid performance alongside fellow novice, Glenn Whelan of Stoke City, in central midfield but the pair came in for a barrage of fierce criticism following the game, most notably from RTE panellist, Eamon Dunphy, who questioned the Derry man’s inclusion and credibility, describing Gibson as a ‘ninth-choice’ Manchester United midfielder!
Gibson, however, remained unfazed by those comments and remains of the view that he had proved himself capable of playing at the highest level.
“I don’t care what anyone is saying about me, to be honest,” said Darron last night.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been fitter than what I am now and the main thing is that we won the game. The manager told both Glenn Whelan and myself to sit deep and help with defending. It was a typically Italian way of playing of the game,” he claimed.
“It was a different role than what I’m used to playing at Manchester United, I suppose I’d rather be bombing forward and be more attacking, but it was a big confidence-booster to play at this level and, hopefully, I can kick on from here and make an impression in the squad.”
It was the former Tristar player’s third Irish cap, having made two substitute appearances under Trapattoni's predecessor, Steve Staunton, against Denmark and Slovakia, but this was, by some considerable distance, the biggest game of his career to date.
Delighted to get his chance ahead of regular English Premiership stars, Reid and Millar, Gibson revealed his intention to secure his place in the squad for next month’s friendly against Poland.
“I was delighted to be brought in for such a big game. I wouldn’t want to be brought in any other way. I think I’ve now shown I can play and handle the pressure at International level.
“It wasn’t the best of games, but I thought I passed the ball well enough and the main thing was that we won the game. I think I played well and, hopefully, I can keep my place in the side. We have a friendly game next month against Poland and I would hope to be playing,” continued Darron.
“It was my first time playing at Croke Park. The pitch was excellent and the atmosphere was great. I must admit that I was a bit nervous before the match but once it got started I was fine. The coaches were telling me all week to speak more and shout a bit more on the pitch and I’m hoarse today as a result!”
But did his call-up to the starting line-up come as a surprise?
“I wasn’t expecting to be called into the squad, so I was delighted when I found out,” he revealed. “Liam Brady seems to like me.
He talked to Trapattoni about me and they sat down to watch some videos before Trapattoni watched me for the first time against Nottingham Forest and made his decision based on that performance.
“The manager told me that I would be in the squad, but I never thought I’d be starting. He didn’t actually tell me I was starting and it wasn’t until we were going through tactics and the formation that I realised I was in the starting line-up.
“It was a brilliant experience and it’s been a real rollercoster few days.”
Gibson is also hopeful of making an impression in the Manchester United squad this year and is anxious to build on his one first team appearance this season.
“I’m really hoping to get my chance and make an impact this season. There’s a lot of competition for places at Old Trafford but there’s been a few injuries and a few players away this weekend, so maybe I’ll get a chance against West Brom this Saturday,” he concluded.