Over the years I’ve seen a few in my time as a Red. Brian McClair- or ‘The Maestro’ as the bloke who stood next to me in the Scoreboad Paddock used to call him- sarcastically in case you were wondering- was the first player I noticed getting quite a bit of stick.
Then it was the likes of David May- before he re-invented himself as a ‘Legend’ Karel Poborsky, Fabien Barthez, Teddy Sheringham- yes there was a time when people doubted him and even more recently Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov.
We can deny it and pretend that we’re better than that, but there are those among us who have little patience for players we feel aren’t good enough to wear the Red shirt.
One such player who’s become the poster boy for the twitter generation when it comes to picking out a man who’s not good enough is Darron Gibson.
In the past when I’ve defended the midfielder I’ve had the sort of response I’d expect if I argued that United fans should have got behind the ‘Free Michael Shields’ campaign or the Glazers deserve their own Holy Trinity statue.
With Gibson ‘stuck in limbo’ according to Sir Alex, after his move to Sunderland fell through, I’m going to have one last throw of the dice and make a case for keeping him at Old Trafford.
Here’s my five reasons why United should go all out to retain the services of the Irishman.
1. Goals. “Hang on!” I hear you cry, “he doesn’t even score that many!” Admittedly ten goals in 58 games is hardly earth shattering but it’s still a far better ratio than any of the current centre midfielders. Darren Fletcher seems to only score sporadically at best, while Anderson, despite his brace agaisnt Schalke, cannot be relied upon to trouble the opposition keeper. Michael Carrick is played in a deeper role but that still doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t score at all last season.
When it comes to goals from the centre of the park Gibson is at the very least the best of a bad bunch.
2. Coming through the ranks. With John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville all retiring, or leaving the club it’s imperative Fergie has enough players at his disposal who know exactly what United is all about. I’m a firm believer that the squad needs a good mix of players who’ve been bought and those who;ve risen through the ranks. Gibson’s been at the club since the age of sixteen and knows exactly what United is all about. That sort of knowledge and understanding plus the example it sets to other young players such as Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison, in the fact it shows hard work and dedication can pay off for youth team players can only be a good thing to have around.
3. Improvement of his passing. Gibson’s been tagged as nothing more than someone who likes to “shooot” all the time and has little else to his game but with four assists – in just 14 starts- last season it’s safe to say he’s learnt how to pick out a pass. In several games last season Gibson delivered perfectly weighted through balls and if we’d seen Paul Scholes doing that we’d have been quick to praise them.
4. Luck of the Irish. United have a long tradition of Irish players at the club, in my younger days it was Denis Irwin, then Roy Keane. My Dad always tells me how Paul McGrath was one of the best defenders he ever saw and more recently John O’Shea has lifted trophy after trophy with the club. Although you should never retain a player based purely on his nationality- after all what next only having white personnel playing for the club? However, it would be a crying shame if after all these years we didn’t have any representatives from the Emerald Isle.
5. It’s a squad game. With up to 60 games to be played next season, it’s vital United have enough players to cover all the positions. With Scholes retired, Owen Hargreaves departed and Darren Fletcher still grappling with his ‘mystery virus’ there’s hardly an abundance of centre midfielders. Giggs is 38 in a few months time, Anderson doesn’t have the greatest track record with injuries, while Phil Jones is more of a DM if not an actual defender rather than a CM, it’s only Michael Carrick who’s proven he can play a full season so surely Gibson could come in useful.
When United face the likes of Swansea, Blackburn and Norwich only days before a crucial Champions League tie would it not make sense to be able to call upon a player who if nothing else has at least proven he can perform against the so-called ‘lesser’ sides?
There you have it, that’s my attempt to do the unthinkable and convince United fans we really do need Darron Gibson. How did I do? Are you now sat in the tattooists getting ‘Darron’ inked onto your forehead? Or is that Gibson voodoo doll still full of pins? Feel free to comment suggest and abuse below: