I loved every minute - Ben
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’.”