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Gibbs deserves chance as Cole is ruled out of England qualifier

| 07.10.2013

After hurting his ribs against Norwich, Chelsea’s Ashley Cole is a doubt for England’s vital World Cup qualifiers, but Roy Hodgson has the perfect replacement to call upon in Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs.

The results of a scan will determine whether or not England’s first-choice left-back will be fit to face Montenegro at Wembley in the first of two titanic World Cup qualifiers within a week.

However, rather than push the panic button, England’s boss knows he is blessed with an abundance of high-quality options in this department and Arsenal’s Gibbs will surely get called-up if Cole is ruled out.

Gibbs has made his best start to an Arsenal season since breaking into the Gunners first team some four seasons ago.

Despite Arsene Wenger bringing in Malaga’s Nacho Monreal in the summer, the 24-year-old Englishman has been so assured on the left – even notching in their 3-0 win over Fenerbache – that Wenger has had an easy decision to keep Gibbs in the side.

And the Frenchman has been duly rewarded by Arsenal’s rise to the top of the Premier League standings and stunning victory over Napoli in the Champions League at the Emirates.

Arsenal’s 9/2 odds of achieving a first title in 10 seasons, have certainly taken on appeal as a result of this run.

However, where Gibbs can expect a call from Hodgson, a starting place ahead of Everton’s Leighton Baines at Wembley seems unlikely.

Unfortunately for Gibbs, Baines’ performances for Everton have rightfully elevated him to the position of chief understudy at left-back for England at this juncture and not many would argue with that viewpoint.

Where Gibbs does offer a decent attacking threat, the Everton man is more adept at swinging crosses in and his delivery and goal-scoring prowess from dead-ball situations gives him the extra dimension.

Gibbs, though, is doing everything right this season and deserves a call-up.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.