Capello resists the urge to call up Gibbs too soon
FABIO CAPELLO is understood to have discussed including Kieran Gibbs in the squad for England’s friendly against Brazil today.
The England manager has been impressed by the Arsenal left-back but has decided that he needs to gain more experience and would benefit from remaining with the Under-21s, who have an important European Championship qualifier at Wembley against Portugal on the same day.
With Ashley Cole injured, Capello chose to include the far more experienced Stephen Warnock as one of his two specialist left-backs along with Wayne Bridge for today’s match in Qatar.
Warnock has also greatly impressed this season following his £8 million move from Blackburn Rovers to Aston Villa and hopes to add to his single cap, which was curtailed through injury, earned last year in the friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
Gibbs, 20, has made six appearances for Arsenal during this campaign, including three in the Premier League and one in the Champions League, and has been watched by Capello and his scouts who have marked him out as a future England international.
Capello said of Gibbs: “He’s a really good player, really interesting for the future of the England team, but he’s young and now he has to play a really important game for the Under-21s against Portugal.”
Although he is highly rated it remains unlikely, therefore, that Gibbs will be able to emulate another Arsenal player, Theo Walcott, and be a surprise inclusion in Capello’s squad for the World Cup finals.
That could change if he quickly gains an extended run in the Arsenal team – Gaël Clichy has been ruled out until the end of this month at least with a stress fracture to his lower back – or if the form of his rivals deteriorates.
Arsène Wenger, unsurprisingly, predicted that Gibbs could be a surprise choice for South Africa, with the player himself admitting that he had thought it possible.
“It’s in my mind somewhere but we have a long season yet,” Gibbs said.
“Hopefully if I can get some more good games under my belt there might be a chance – but I’m just concentrating on the club and what we can do to win trophies. I’m still looking to take my chance when I get it and I’m happy enough with the way things are going.”
Gibbs is not the only member of the Under-21s who has caught Capello’s eye but the manager is also interested in ensuring Stuart Pearce’s team remain as competitive as possible, believing this will help the development of the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Jack Rodwell.
Indeed Tom Huddlestone’s inclusion is an example to all possible future England players with Capello marking out the midfielder quickly after the Italian was appointed.
However, he has called him up sparingly and has now waited until Huddlestone was a Spurs regular.
There are no injury concer ns for England ahead of today’s game with the 23-man squad having arrived in Doha on Wednesday. – The Telegraph