I loved every minute - Ben

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - SPORT -

BEN Gib­son has loved every minute of his “whirl­wind stint” with the Eng­land squad and has got a taste for more.

The Mid­dles­brough de­fender was called up by Gareth Southgate last week ahead of the World Cup qual­i­fier against Lithua­nia at Wem­b­ley.

Gib­son was an un­used sub as the hosts ran out 2-0 win­ners but he says he wouldn’t have missed the ex­pe­ri­ence for the world.

“There’s a lot to take in and I’ve been pinch­ing my­self at times,” he said. “It’s been a real rollercoaster of emo­tions and I’ve loved every sin­gle minute of it.

“Hope­fully it’s some­thing I can sam­ple a bit more of in the fu­ture. I’d be a fool not to (want more in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence) af­ter what I’ve wit­nessed these last few days so I’m re­ally ex­cited and I’d love to be back here again.”

Gib­son’s call-up came out of the blue and it re­sulted in a swift change of plans.

The 24-year-old re­vealed that he had booked a week­end break with his girl­friend Ash­ley Git­tins and was all set to fly out of the UK when the call came from Southgate.

“I was at the train­ing ground,” he ex­plained, “it was Fri­day af­ter train­ing. I was about to go to Ma­jorca with my mis­sus ac­tu­ally but I couldn’t put the brakes on quick enough and get down here.”

So what was his girl­friend’s re­ac­tion on hear­ing about the call up?

“She didn’t be­lieve me! I wound her up in the last in­ter­na­tional break telling her we’re not go­ing any­where so she thought it was the same story!”

Gib­son ad­mits the week­end was some­thing of a “whirl­wind”.

Asked to de­scribe how he felt, he said: “Just shock. Mixed emo­tions re­ally, shock, de­light, ev­ery­thing.

“It was a sur­prise be­cause it came late in the day but when I found out I couldn’t get down here quick enough and I was ab­so­lutely de­lighted.

“The lads have been fan­tas­tic, re­ally wel­com­ing, you can tell they’ve got such a good ca­ma­raderie and I’m lucky enough to know a few of them from the Un­der-21 set up.”

Gib­son might not have got out on the pitch to play but walk­ing on the Wem­b­ley turf was still a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence for the Teessider.

“It was spe­cial to be out there, it’s every lit­tle English boy’s dream to rep­re­sent Eng­land so even though I didn’t get on to be out there, to be part of a squad fight­ing to get to a World Cup is fan­tas­tic.”

It’s no se­cret Southgate is a big ad­mirer of Gib­son’s foot­balling abil­ity. Did the for­mer Boro skip­per and man­ager share any words of wis­dom?

“Gareth said ‘you’re here be­cause we know you as a per­son, we know you as a player, you de­serve to be here so be your­self, en­joy it and take it all in’.”

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