City new boy craving that winning feeling after ‘hardest two years’ of his life

Canaries debutant Ben Gibson clears his lines under pressure during Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to De

Canaries debutant Ben Gibson clears his lines under pressure during Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Derby Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ben Gibson was thrilled to make his first league appearance in almost two years and bring an end to a difficult spell personally - but insists it means little until he can help Norwich City return to winning ways.

It had been over a year since the centre-back’s last appearance for Burnley, in the League Cup, and making his Canaries debut during Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Derby was his first league match since December 2018.

“It’s great to be back, I won’t lie, the highs and lows of football, I’ve missed them for two years, I really have,” said Gibson.

“It’s been the hardest two years of my life. For other people that will sound ridiculous, footballers get paid a great wage, that’s what people say. It’s all irrelevant if you’re not playing.

“So the highs and lows of football are what you chase, today is a low. Yes I’m delighted to be back personally but I’d have traded that for three points.

“It wasn’t to be but we roll our sleeves up, get back to the drawing board, work really hard, stick together and I’ve no doubt that we’ll start a good run after the international break.”

It was an encouraging debut for the 27-year-old too, although Teemu Pukki’s missed penalty and good saves from Derby keeper David Marshall allowed England’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney to snatch the points with an excellent late free-kick.

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That opportunity arrived after Gibson had pushed forward to start an attack, only for Adam Idah to take a poor touch. The Rams broke and Lukas Rupp had to bring the charging Jason Knight down and take a yellow card. However, the Burnley loanee comfortably completed the most accurate passes (100) of any player on the pitch, to show that he can replace the passing ability of Everton-bound Ben Godfrey.

“I came through the Middlesbrough academy and we were brought up with the ball, playing the right way,” Gibson explained. “That’s what I believe I’m good at, I’m a ball playing centre-back.

“It’s the way we want to play, it’s the way I really enjoy playing, I enjoy having that licence and having that demand put on me.

“They’re our principles, we’ll stick to them and I have no doubt that our luck will turn, that those principles will start to come to the fore and get us some points.”