Player: Darron Gibson #4
Games Played: 14; Games Started: 6; Goals: 0; Assists: 1; Shots: 14; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls Committed: 8; Fouls Suffered: 6; Yellow Cards: 0; Red Card: 0
Darron Gibson’s time at Everton can only be described as a great shame. I am sure I would be correct in saying that there’s not much that would pleasure Evertonians more, aside from the obvious, than Gibson getting back fit and going on to make 2/300 appearances. Alas the world is not that nice.
Roberto Martinez said when Gibson was ruled out for the final seven games of the season that the midfielder is not injury prone. In one sense he isn’t wrong as strange as that may sound. Gibson hasn’t really had a recurring problem that he is plagued by. The pattern with him is usually that he suffers an injury that will keep him out for a while like his knee ligament last season and metatarsal most recently and then once he regains fitness and looks to return to the squad he picks up little niggling calf/hamstring/thigh injuries in training keeping him out further. Then when Gibbo finally returns he excites us all with his passing range and vision before the cycle starts again.
What He Did Well
That sense of excitement he provided us all in the 2014/15 season started with the home draw against Leicester City. He was brought on at 0-0 on 55 minutes. In the 57th minute Everton were winning 1-0. I’m not saying that’s not a coincidence but what I am saying is from the moment he came on every pass looked to have intent and a quickness to it compared to the tedious and laboured proceeding the substitution.
The 27-year-old’s passing and vision in that game helped the Toffees rescue a point and they were unlucky not to collect all three. That performance off the bench lead to him starting the second leg at home to BSC Young Boys the following Thursday, in what was essentially a dead rubber after the domination in Switzerland. Gibson completed 90 minutes and claimed an assist for good measure – cutting BSC Young Boys’ defence open with one pass to put Kevin Mirallas through on goal.
The Irishman came on for the last 5 minutes against Arsenal and played the full 90 in the dismal defeat away to Stoke City. Following that though, he played the entirety of two of Everton’s best wins of the season at home to Newcastle United and away to Queens Park Rangers but that was the last we saw of the pass master.
What Gibson done well when on the field; was increase the intensity of Everton’s passing. The Blues only have two players who have the ability to control the pace of a game and Gibson is one of them; Barry being the other but for most of the season left it to Phil Jagielka and John Stones to do most the passing.
What He Could Have Done Better
Stop walking under ladders? Collect more rabbit feet? Stop breaking mirrors? Stop stepping on cracks?
In an Everton shirt there wasn’t really anything Gibson could have done better this season. Personally, I would have liked to have seen him use that trademark hammer shot he has in his locker, but that is probably being a bit picky when it was just a pleasure to watch him control possession in those few games.
Off the pitch, and it is essentially completely out of his control; the only thing we would like more from Gibson is him being available. The deep playmaker has been one of the most unlucky players for time spent injured. Perhaps the work he is doing in training could be assessed and the coaching and fitness staff can come together to work out a lighter training schedule when he regains fitness once again, similar to how they did with James McCarthy and his recurring hamstring injury.
Throughout our series of player reviews we have been using the grading system A+ to F; with A+ for those few this season who had an outstanding campaign, C for those who had an average season and F for those who performed dreadfully. How would you rate Darron Gibson’s contribution this season?
I’ve found it hard to grade Gibbo given the juxtaposition of the promise he showed and the frustration of his injuries, therefore a simple grading system doesn’t completely suffice for Everton’s number four – so once you have decided on a grade, leave your more detailed opinion below in the comment section.