‘Norwich is a cracking club’ - Warnock explains why Boro couldn’t sign Gibson

Ben Gibson is set to face former club Middlesbrough with Norwich City on Saturday
Picture: Paul Che

Ben Gibson is set to face former club Middlesbrough with Norwich City on Saturday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Neil Warnock has explained why Middlesbrough weren’t able to take Ben Gibson back to the north-east but feels the defender has sealed a move to a ‘cracking club’ in Norwich City.

The 27-year-old had trained with his former club earlier this year while he remained out of favour at Burnley after injuries had seen a £15million move turn sour, having made over 200 appearances for his hometown club previously.

“We spoke to Ben about coming to us at one stage,” Warnock explained at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s home game against the Canaries. “I think Ben’s heart will always be at Middlesbrough but life goes on and he has to make a name for himself where he can.

“Norwich is a cracking club so I’m pleased for Ben, he’s a good lad.”

Gibson eventually joined Norwich on a season-long loan from Burnley, with a view to the deal being made permanent if City can bounce straight back to the Premier League, and has already become an important player for Daniel Farke.

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Warnock, speaking to the Hartlepool Mail, added of Boro’s interest: “It wasn’t really close, there were talks about it but financially it didn’t make sense really.

“You have to look after your own family as well and I could understand where Ben was coming from. It didn’t really get down the line if I’m honest.”

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The Canaries also have former Boro striker Jordan Hugill in their squad, who has scored once in 10 appearances since joining from West Ham for an initial £2.6million, only four of which were starts.

The 28-year-old is also from Middlesbrough and spent the 2018-19 on loan at the Riverside, scoring seven goals in 42 matches.

“I think you always want to do well against your old clubs,” added Warnock. “Jordan scored that cracking goal last year against us for QPR.

“I would imagine he is looking forward to it but he might not be playing so we just don’t know.”

Seventh-placed Boro are unbeaten in 10 games and have centre-back Grant Hall fit again and midfielder George Saville returning after missing the 0-0 draw at Brentford prior to the international break due to family reasons.

Former Sunderland forward Duncan Watmore is also in contention after signing a short-term deal but young attacking midfielder Marcus Browne misses out with a hamstring strain and defensive midfielder Sam Morsy is also working his way back from a hamstring injury.

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