Thanks to the withdrawal of the injured Ashley Cole, Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs has been called up to the England squad. Here are three reasons for his dramatic improvement.
When Chelsea defender Ashley Cole was forced to withdraw from the England squad with a rib complaint, there was little debate regarding his replacement.
Kieran Gibbs has been enjoying an excellent run of form all season, and thoroughly deserves his long awaited return to the national side, having only featured for the Three Lions twice since August 2010 in friendly matches against Hungary and France.
There are three reasons behind Gibbs’ improvement – and subsequent summons to the England setup.
Prior to last season, the most Premier League appearances Kieran Gibbs had made in a campaign was 16, thanks to a string of niggly injuries.
However, the 24 year-old managed 27 games in the English top flight last season, and is well on his way to a similar number in the current campaign.
Gibbs attributes his fitness to a new regime he begun just over a year ago, with a mixture of yoga and additional gym work the key.
“It’s the best I’ve felt physically,” Gibbs told the Daily Mirror.
“I have always felt that when I am able to get a run of games, that is what I needed to kick on. I have always felt sure I could do that.
“Now I feel I am kicking on. I need to keep that going and stay fit. That is my main target.
“Since my thigh strain at the end of last year, I met someone new who has taken a good look at me physically, and I owe him credit because he has kept me fit for the last eight to 10 months.
“The work he asks me to do is not easy, but as long as it keeps me fit, I’m happy.
“It is just extra work in the gym, out of hours, to strengthen everything and just to make sure that everything is ready before and after games. It’s all about recovery.”
Gibbs’ development has been greatly accelerated by regular and consistent first team football, and that cannot be underestimated.