Darron Gibson has played 20 games in the league for Everton, out of these 20 games, they’ve lost just 1. In that game Gibson was substituted after 20 minutes. Is it a coincidence that Everton play better with the Irishman in centre midfield? For me, it’s far from a coincidence. Gibson brings calm to the toffees midfield, a knack of being in the right place at the right time, he’s rarely, if ever out position. His ball retention is something the Everton midfield needs, he just keeps the game ticking.
Gibson signed for 500k from Man Utd in January 2012. Like many Evertonians I wasn’t best pleased with the ‘replacement’ for Mikel Arteta. Since the Spaniard had left on deadline day in August 2011 we didn’t have time to sign someone then, so I was looking forward to seeing who we would replace our ‘Best Little Spaniard’ with. When it turned out to be Gibson, I was far from impressed. I remember, I tweeted something along the lines of “Darron Gibson, is this what we’ve stooped to, a Manchester United flop”
He made his debut away at Aston Villa, within 10 minutes he showed us what he could do, a lovely chipped through ball for Tim Cahill, which the Aussie struck straight at the goalkeeper. However, the pass was something that everyone was surprised by, it was the spark in the midfield we’d been lacking. Besides the pass, he didn’t do anything spectacular. He just sat and protected the back four, ending the game with a tidy pass completion rate of 83% completing 45/54 passes.
Gibson’s first and only goal for The Toffeemen came at home against Man City, arriving late into the box before unleashing a vicious strike into the back of net with the help of a slight deflection. He controlled the game that night. He strode about and passed with a slight arrogance. A belief that he was the best midfielder on park despite only having a pass completion rate of 59%, he just looked assured. His impact on the rest of the side was undeniable.
The Ireland international, made many more confident and assured performances for the Blues last season, particularly away at Swansea. Not forgetting a fantastic performance at Sunderland in the FA cup quarter final replay, setting up a tie with Liverpool in the semi-final.
Gibson was finally accepted as an Evertonian by me after the victory over Manchester United first game of this season. After another solid performance by the Irishman, and a great victory from the Toffees. He then went on to sing Grand Old Team. Proving to me, he’s one of us. That proved to me, he understands what being an Everton player is all about, what it represents. Just from singing one song at full time, you got the feeling that he just gets it.
He has spent quite a lot of this season injured, his absence has been notable. Not because Everton have been losing games, just the goals they’ve been conceding. The team has lacked a proper central midfielder, with Phil Neville attempting to do the Gibson job. All credit to Phil Neville, he’s done a good job. He’s just not as good as Darron Gibson though.
Darron Gibson has been nothing but a success so far and I hope it continues, he turned my head and I’m sure he turned many others. 500k has been a steal, his performances have been nothing short of exceptional and long may it continue.