West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis believes there’s more to come from new signing Kieran Gibbs, ahead of tonight’s Premier League meeting between with his former club.
Gibbs joined West Brom during the summer transfer window, having spent over a decade at Arsenal. During that time, he became a dependable performer, in my opinion, albeit one that often struggled to hold down a regular first-team spot.
Now 27, Pulis feels there’s still more to come from him. “I think he’s got a lot left in the tank. He is only 27,” he said, reports the Daily Star. “He’s been very good around the dressing-room and the players have taken to him.
“He’s got a little bounce about him. He has really mixed in with the group which is important. His focus now should be on trying to improve and to become a very good player for West Bromwich Albion.
“I have been pleased with the games he has played. He has done really well. I still think there is a lot more to come as well. We think it is a good deal but I’ve signed players who have started well and faded and I have signed players who have started really poorly and grown into it.
“But it looks a great deal and I think he has taken to the mental side of it as well, in respect of avoiding injuries and preparation for training. He felt personally it was time to have a new challenge which was great.
“We are fortunate enough to have got the deal done. Now it is up to all of us, him and ourselves, to make sure we try to get the best out of him.”
Gibbs had several injury problems while at Arsenal. It may have the been reason why he didn’t progress as much as initially anticipated. Remaining injury-free and always being available to play will be his biggest challenge at West Brom, I feel.
He really could improve under Pulis, due to the number of defensive drills he will experience. Pulis’ methods are all about repetition and ensuring his players know how to keep their shape and how to be dangerous during set-pieces.
This will be in stark contrast to Arsenal’s training methods, which aren’t as focused on shape retention and defending deep.
Gibbs could be involved this evening when Arsenal play West Brom at the Emirates Stadium. Pulis has an abject record at the Emirates, losing all nine visits he’s made with Stoke and West Brom.
While it’ll be nice to see Gibbs play, we hope that record continues to be poor.