Arsene Wenger wants Kieran Gibbs to follow in Ashley Cole's footsteps

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Arsene Wenger has put pressure on the shoulders of left-back Kieran Gibbs by saying he expects him to become England's best left-back of all time.

The 25-year-old has only made three full international appearances so far, but is the only English left-back playing in the Champions League, so should be preferred ahead of Luke Shaw when Roy Hodgson announces his England squad tomorrow, for the upcoming international fixtures. 

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The main problem for Gibbs over the years has been his fitness, having sustained a number of injuries, his most-recent being a hamstring injury ruling him out of the previous internationals. Danny Rose came in to provide cover for current number one left-back, Leighton Baines.

However, Arsene Wenger is confident that the Arsenal number three can soon make the England number three jersey his own, after an excellent start to the season.


When asked if Gibbs should be a Three Lions regular in a press conference before their Champions League game with Galatasary, Wenger said: "He will if he performs like he did on Saturday.

"He looks to me that he's going into second gear now and realises he can trust his body, trust his talent.

"On Saturday, against Spurs, he showed his personality, to impose himself on the game. That's what you want to see because all the talent is there."

Better than Ashley Cole?

The Arsenal manager, who celebrates 18-years in charge of the club today, believes Gibbs has all the potential to become even greater than England's best-ever-left-back, Ashley Cole. 

He added: "For a long time, Ashley was the England left-back but now it's a bit more open. He is a good example because he was a top player.

"You see stories about Ashley but, on the day of a game, when it mattered, he was always there.

"I let Gael Clichy go because Kieran was a young English left-back. I wanted to give him a chance.

"When he arrived at the club he was 16 and a winger or midfielder. I saw that potential didn't really come out.

"I saw he was intelligent and maybe i could transform him into a defender. It was a bit similar to Ashley.

"What doesn't help is when you're in and out because of injuries. We sometimes forget the first quality of a good footballer is health."


Gibbs played 13 times for the U21s, and will be hoping he can now press on and establish himself in the senior squad. Leighton Baines is 29 and maybe only has a few years at the top-level remaining, so now is the chance for the Arsenal star to seize his opportunity.

England manager Hodgson will be in attendance at the Emirates Stadium tonight, along with assistant Ray Lewington to monitor Gibbs' performance, and he will be hoping to do enough to claim a place in the squad.

Sitting next to Wenger in the press conference, Gibbs is confident he can stay fit and become an England star.

"The key thing for me is to stay fit.

I cannot pick holes in things until I've had a consistent run in the team. That starts with being fit for the Champions League game and the weekend. Then I can start to look at that."

Gibbs and Arsenal will be looking to kick-start their European campaign tonight after their disappointing opening game defeat away at Borussia Dortmund.

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Kieran Gibbs
England Football
Arsene Wenger
Ashley Cole
Premier League

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