Arsenal boss said Norwich was best
Paddy Davitt Norwich's highly rated Arsenal prospect Kieran Gibbs revealed Gunners' chief Arsene Wegner insisted the Canaries were the only club for him to further his footballing education.
Norwich's highly rated Arsenal prospect Kieran Gibbs revealed Gunners' chief Arsene Wegner insisted the Canaries were the only club for him to further his footballing education.
Gibbs had attracted a clutch of admirers interested in a loan spell but Wenger was only prepared to entrust Glenn Roeder with one his brightest gems.
The Frenchman handed Gibbs a senior debut in the League Cup romp at Sheffield United earlier this season just one month after signing his first professional contract at the Emirates.
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“There were a few clubs interested but I spoke to the manager and he said the best place to go was Norwich,” said Gibbs. “He told me Norwich is a team that try to play football and he thought I'd learn a lot from the manager. I think the manager here at Norwich has a good relationship with him and I have actually learned a lot so far. He's an excellent manager. I just want to get minutes on the pitch and get that experience of playing competitively week in, week out.”
The teenager was forced to bide his team before Roeder let the England U19 prospect off the leash in Tuesday's Championship home draw against Hull.
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“It was a big game for Kieran Gibbs to come into and I'm not disappointed with what he did,” said Roeder. “We starved him of the ball in the first half and that's not his fault. From what I've seen in training, I can see why Arsene Wenger thinks he's one of his top young talents. He's 18 years old and I think in a couple of years, you won't recognise him as the young player we saw in this game. He's extremely talented.”
Gibbs was happy to accept his delayed introduction to first team action after City's recent unbeaten run.
“That's football,” he said. “When the team is winning you can't expect to just come into a side and start playing straight away. You've got to earn your place and show what you can do. It was good to get some minutes as the manager promised, and I'm looking forward now - although the result was disappointing.”
The Lambeth-born midfielder admits he is enjoying life outside the capitol.
“It's a great club to learn at and train,” he said. “Everything about it, from the manager and the boys in the team - they've all been really helpful. Ryan (Bertrand) helped me settle in straight away. Within a few days I just felt normal, like another face around the training ground. Norfolk is a bit quieter than London but I think I need that. It's a chance to get my head down and concentrate on my football.”
Arsenal academy coach Steve Bould ran the rule over Gibbs against the Tigers and the midfielder knows he has to impress to force his way into the Gunners' star-studded first team squad.
“It's the ultimate - there's quite a few of us at Arsenal in my age group and the few below so it's good to have everyone pushing each other to progress,” he said. “We're all looking to do that, which would be such an achievement. The best thing I feel I can do right now is come to a club like Norwich and when I do go back, if I get a chance I'll be better prepared.”