'He took to it like a duck to water' - Gibson backs Barden to thrive at Cardiff
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Norwich City can rely on young goalkeeper Dan Barden if he is required to start against Cardiff, according to Ben Gibson.
The 20-year-old is yet to start a Championship fixture for the Canaries but impressed in their FA Cup third-round victory over Coventry last weekend. Tim Krul's positive Covid-19 diagnosis makes him a doubt for this weekend's game, meaning the former Arsenal academy prospect may be handed an opportunity in the league.
The current situation with coronavirus is unsettling for players, but Gibson reiterates the importance of following the guidelines in the upcoming weeks. The defender knows that, despite the uncertainty, City have options they can call upon should other players test positive.
“It’s a season where a lot of the usual controllables are out of your control,” Gibson said. “You could have a team set up on a Friday and some positive COVID results come back and everything’s got to change.
“We’ve got a fantastic squad and everything’s in place here for as many players as possible to be fit. We’re doing as much as we can to prevent COVID spreading and we’ve done it generally quite well, touch wood, so far this season as we haven’t had many cases.
“Everyone’s got to make sure they’re ready when called upon. Young Daniel did that in goal at the weekend and for me he was man of the match. He had a lot of work to do to be honest, which our keepers normally haven’t had this season in games.
“He was fantastic and it didn’t look like it was his first proper game so fair play to him. He took to it like a duck to water."
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The Welsh youth international is the latest goalkeeper to emerge from the conveyer belt of shot-stopping talent the club have produced over the years and follows in the footsteps of numerous young stars to have featured for the first-team since Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber joined the club in 2017.
Gibson isn't surprised at City's record of bringing in young players and credits the hierarchy as well as professionals such as Alex Tettey for nurturing their talents in an often brutal first-team environment.
“Norwich’s record of bringing through young players and giving them an opportunity and the players taking them has been fantastic, particularly over the last few years with Stuart Webber and the manager here,” Gibson told the Canaries' official website.
“It’s something the young players are encouraged to do - take the opportunity when it comes. They work hard to make sure they’re in a position to play well and take the opportunity when it arises.
“You’ve got good people here and experienced players. Alex Tettey is a role model to any young player who arrives at this club, whether they’ve come through the youth team or we buy them - that’s how to conduct yourself and look after yourself on and off the pitch.
“The reason he can still play at that level at his age and physically be at the level he’s at is because of how good professionally he’s been over a long time in his career.
“It’s great to have that mix, that youthfulness as well as that experience. It seems to have worked together nicely as we’ve got a real good spirit and camaraderie. We just want the games to come.
“We’re loving playing together, being together and I suppose we’re the lucky ones at this time because we’re still allowed to play football with our mates effectively. We’re doing it on a stage and doing it well so long may that continue.”