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