Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Player Who Is Only Interested in Improving

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Player Who Is Only Interested in Improving

Article excerpt

Byline: PHILIP TALLENTIRE philip.tallentire@trinitymirror.com @PTALLENTIREGAZ

FOOTBALL'S never been purely about talent.

Wonderfully gifted youngsters often disappear from the game without fulfilling their potential. There are many reasons why that can happen: poor attitude, bad guidance, injuries, loss of form; to name just four.

An excellent example, however, of a player who is making the most of talent is Ben Gibson.

He's gifted, sure, but he's also willing to listen and learn.

It's surprising how many don't. So many footballers think the time to stop listening to good advice is the moment they pen their first lucrative contract.

They stop doing the things that enabled them to win a place in the first team squad, they become complacent.

There's no danger of that happening with Gibson.

Speaking at Wembley after England's 2-0 victory over Lithuania, he was asked by The Gazette what he would take away from his experience with the national team.

He answered: "It's been a little insight into how people are right at the top of the game, their attitude, their mentality, their physicality, so I can learn a lot from these players and try and take it back to the training ground with me."

The 24-year-old spent just two full days in the England camp but, like a sponge, he soaked up as much information as possible.

It's fair to suppose he wasn't using his time in the hotel trying to find out how much the other players earned or what cars they drive.

Gibson wanted to know what he could do to win a regular place in the squad.

He watched and he learned. Gareth Southgate wants leaders, players who can cope if things start going wrong on the pitch rather than panic and go missing.

Good game management is something the head coach is keen to instil in his players.

The next time England fall behind in a major tournament, Southgate wants men who can think their way out of the problem rather than run around like headless chickens. …

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