We’re raring to go - Ben
BEN Gibson believes this summer has been vital for Middlesbrough’s players to dust themselves down and reflect on last season’s numbing disappointment.
The bulk of Boro’s squad will report back to Rockliffe for pre-season on Wednesday, less than six weeks after the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on the final day of a galling Premier League campaign.
Much has changed on Teesside since then with Garry Monk handed the Riverside reins, and the 38-year-old has moved quickly to freshen things up by adding several new faces to his backroom staff.
Although the pain of Premier League relegation lingers, Gibson admits the last few weeks have been hugely important to draw a line under the past and help focus minds ahead of the upcoming 46game Championship slog.
“The summer is a massive time for any player,” Gibson exclusively told The Gazette.
“Firstly, you’ve got to go away and look after yourself – but you also need to get away to mentally get your head around what’s gone on.
“Last year, it was about getting our heads around the success we enjoyed, promotion and getting ourselves prepared for the Premier League.
“This way around, after being relegated, it probably takes longer to recover because there’s regret and disappointment.
“But getting away is vital. It’s essential to come back physically in good shape ready to attack what we know is going to be a long, hard season in the Championship.”
Gibson, 24, is no stranger to disappointment – as he recalls the summer of soul-searching that followed Boro’s play-off final defeat in May 2015.
But the post-Wembley pain doesn’t come close to the frustra- tion that has niggled away on Teesside over the last few weeks, according to the centre-back.
“After the play-off final was really tough,” Gibson said. “For one, we didn’t have as much time (to reflect), as the game was later in the day, but yeah – I do think this is harder.
“Although that one in 2015 was grasped at the last minute from in front of your face, this time we’ve sampled the Premier League – the good life, as such.
“We’ve seen the big-name signings, the money being thrown around, the pride of being a Premier League club and going to the massive away grounds.
“So this (feeling) is probably more difficult – and that has made the summer break more important. We have to make sure everyone, individually, is equipped and ready to play in the Championship.
“And then it’s down to the important people at the football club to make the right decisions, the right additions and so on.”
Last week, manager Garry Monk – along with members of his new backroom team – finalised Boro’s pre-season regime, with the players set to undergo stringent medical checks upon their return.