Ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, England manager Gareth Southgate has given Ben Gibson his first senior call-up.
The centre-back has enjoyed a good start to life in the top flight, forming part of a Middlesbrough defence with one of the Premier League’s best records.
Gibson has been a major part of the Teesiders conceding just 33 goals so far, having played every minute in the league.
This is particularly impressive considering it is the 24-year-old’s debut Premier League season, and that only 5 other outfield players have managed the same this term.
It could be argued that Gibson was unfortunate to miss out initially, having only been called upon following Chris Smalling’s injury. The Manchester United defender’s absence, combined with that of team-mate Phil Jones and Gary Cahill’s suspension, had left Southgate with just two fit centre-backs in his squad.
Those events have provided Gibson with a great opportunity to stake his place in future squads. If the 3-4-3 formation used in Germany on Wednesday returns on Sunday, Boro’s stalwart will be set to start.
Following the assured debut of Burnley’s Michael Keane in Dortmund, England fans should be excited by the prospect of another confident defender joining the ranks so soon; providing vital competition for places.
If Gibson’s stats this season are anything to go by, expect him to become a permanent fixture in Southgate’s squads. The Centre-back has been dribbled past just four times in the Premier League, showing he can compete with some of the world’s top players. England need a solid back line to build upon, Boro’s man certainly fits the bill.
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