We’re rar­ing to go - Ben

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

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.

Ben Gib­son

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