Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder has had his say on youngster Joe Gibson, who was included in Boro’s matchday squad for the visit of Bournemouth at the weekend.
Middlesbrough are notorious for giving youth a chance. This season, the likes of Dael Fry, Marcus Tavernier, Isaiah Jones, and Josh Coburn have all become vital members of the first-team squad, and all have come through the academy system.
Another player who could look to make the step up is versatile midfielder Joe Gibson. The 20-year-old appeared on the bench for the first time in his Boro career on Saturday, as the Teessiders beat Bournemouth 1-0 in the televised early kick-off.
Gibson is a player who has been touted to break into the first-team fold after establishing himself at youth level.
Speaking to Teesside Live, Wilder confirmed that there is a ‘pathway’ to the senior side from the academy and Gibson is testament to that.
“So there is a pathway through for young players as there always has been and this is a good opportunity for young Joe to be around the first team group and enjoy the experience.”
The Boro boss said that Gibson is there on merit, and admitted the youngster has caught his eye.
“He’s with us because he’s a good player. He’s done well,” said Wilder.
“I’ve seen him in a couple of games now and thought he was good for the under-23s and he’s then come into our group and done well.”
Not only is he there on merit though. There are injuries to a few players and so he may be there to fill a gap on the subs bench. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be called upon, and he needs to make good on his opportunity if it arises in the coming weeks.
“You look at it numbers-wise and we’re missing a number of players still. [James Lea] Siliki and [Marc] Bola were missing today, [Lee] Peltier is missing today, [Marcus] Browne is missing. That’s four. Then Josh [Coburn] is missing, [Sammy] Ameobi and [Darnell] Fisher takes us up to seven. We have a goalkeeper missing too.
“So all of a sudden from your 25 you’re eight down and that leaves you just 17 players.”
There is a possibility Gibson may get his chance in Boro’s next game. They take on Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day, where they will be hoping to make up ground on the sides in the top six above them.