There’s been many crazes at Old Trafford over the years, moo hoodies, upturned collars, clear plastic mackintosh’s, green and gold scarves, the list is endless. One craze that seems to be gathering momentum of late is the idea of blaming a certain Darron Gibson every time United put in a below-par performance.
It seems regardless of how other players perform if young Darron’s on the pitch then it’s surely his fault that United haven’t played as well as they could and he deserves to be chastised accordingly. The disappointing results against Rangers, West Brom, Birmingham and more recently the poor performances in the first half against Blackpool and Southampton were blamed by many on Gibson.
Take the draw at home against West Brom for example, Gibson entered the fray with United 2-0 up at the end of the first half when Ryan Giggs picked up a knock. Cue lots of ranting and laying the blame squarely on Gibson’s door as surely if he comes on when United are winning and then they draw- it’s obviously all his fault. Such fallacies of logic are commonplace when it comes to analysing the impact of Gibson.The game against Blackpool was the same with many citing the introduction of Giggs in Gibson’s place as the games turning point. This is actually true but it wasn’t Gibson who was the only poor performer in a United shirt in that first half at Bloomfield Road, there were other more experienced players who were equally as bad.
A quick glance at the stats for this season will tell you that Gibson has one assist and no goals in eight EPL games, however a more in-depth look will tell you that of those eight games- only three were starts- and he was subbed in two of those. In the Carling Cup Gibson fared a little better with a goal and an assist in just two games.
While those stats hardly make you drool with excitement at the prospect of Gibson’s next United appearance they do tell us that the term ‘stop start’ would be something of an understatement for the midfielder. Playing less than 1/4 of United’s games is hardly enough to give any player either the run or the confidence they need.
Part of the problem for Gibson has been his penchant for shooting at almost every opportunity- so much so that ironic shouts of R20;shoot” echo around Old Trafford when he gets the ball anywhere near the opposition penalty area. Yet Gibson has risen above many other United prospects-arguably due to his reputation of packing a decent long-range shot. Last season was a case in point, when his long range efforts against the likes of Spurs, West Ham and Bayern Munich seemed to cement his reputation as someone who could score from distance. Unfortunately for Gibson those goals, haven’t been forthcoming in his brief appearances this time round and he’s struggled to convince many of the Old Trafford faithful of his value to the team.
Here-in lies part of the problem, Gibson has had no real run in the side, yet is expected to show his worth when he does play so what does he do? He tries to score from long range efforts, yet when he fails it merely convinces everyone he shouldn’t be in the team, it’s a bit of a catch 22. If Gibson was given a decent run then there’s no doubt his shootig would improve and the goals would come, yet with Anderson, Scholes, Fletcher, Carrick and even Giggs all standing in his way then his chances are limited to say the least.
It’s not as if Gibson is a bad player- following his goal against Bayern Munich last season – I’m sure I wasn’t the only United fan eating a bit of humble pie after questioning his inclusion in the team that night. Sir Alex obviously rates him otherwise he wouldn’t have picked him for such an important game and he wouldn’t have kept him in the squad this season.
I’ll be honest and admit at times, I’ve questioned why Fergie persists with him but as I’ve learned over the years, the United manager is seldom wrong when it comes to deciding who’s good enough for the side and even I’ll confess that there are times when Gibson looks as though he could give United a different, useful option in midfield.
Some people have compared him to Paul Scholes and suggested he could replace him one day which is grossly unfair. Not only is Scholes one of the greatest midfielders of all time- that may sound over the top but I whole-heartedly mean it- but he’s a different type of player to Gibson altogether. Gibson may shoot from range, which Scholes does- or used to do a lot better than anyone- but other than that I can’t see too many similarities.
Gibson is no Paul Scholes, but there’s no shame in that- after all Michael Carrick is no Roy Keane and we don’t expect him to be.
The point I’m making is that it’s time to get off young Darron’s case and realise he’s not the root of all evil. You can almost feel the contempt some United fans hold him in at times and it reminds me of the way a certain Bulgarian was treated by some not a million years ago.
At United I’ve seen players such as Berbatov, Anderson, Fletcher, Carrick and Jonny Evans all come in for harsh criticism over the past few years and by and large they’ve proved their detractors wrong.
Gibson may not be perfect but as long as he dons the Red shirt I for one will be getting behind him, you never know with a bit of support he may even surprise us all.