The curious case of Darron Gibson's withdrawal from the Irish squad
Darron Gibson has decided to withdraw from the Irish squad for Friday’s opening World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan and his reason for doing so is a bit of a curious one.
The midfielder with a propensity to shoot on sight has started the season well for Everton and has maintained the quite ridiculous stat of having never lost a Premier League game for the Toffees.
His form at the end of last season wasn’t enough to earn him a single second of playing time at the Euros, however, and it would appear as if Giovanni Trapattoni has paid the price for his lack of faith in the Derryman, who, Trap announced today, is not yet “ready to return” to the Irish squad. Promising Sunderland midfielder David Meyler has been called up in his place.
Like James McCarthy, for example, Gibson has had to bide his time in the sidelines because of Trap’s unwavering faith in the solid but far from spectacular midfield partnership of Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews over the last few years.
With Andrews suspended for the Kazakhstan trip, however, and Whelan set to fall down the pecking order having been offered to Wolves following Charlie Adam’s arrival at Stoke, Ireland could have done with Gibson’s presence in what will be unchartered territory for the Boys in Green.
According to numerous posts on Twitter this afternoon, like the ones from Sunday Indo hack Dion Fanning below, Gibson won’t be featuring in the opening game on the Road to Rio in 2014 with Trap saying that "he doesn’t feel ready to ready to return to the squad for this fixture," and subsequently adding that he hopes that Gibson “will take this time to reflect positively on his international career, and return to us in time for the Germany game".
Gibson has as yet failed to deliver in an Irish jersey, but with the mood ripe for change after our desperate showing at the Euros and his increase in stature at Everton, there was a chance that he would feature more prominently in the upcoming campaign.
Unless there is an intervention from Trapattoni, his absence could be extended further into the qualifying campaign and it once again raises questions about the communication between the manager and his players, an issue that has been the subject of much debate of late.
With Given and Duff retired, Dunne injured, Andrews suspended and now Gibson gone, what Stan might call a “potential banana skin” against Kazakhstan is now beginning to resemble an ice rink, while the signs for the future aren’t exactly radiating positivity either.
There could be worrying times ahead for Irish football supporters.