Date:Wednesday October 31 2007
After yesterday's newspaper reports suggesting that Gilberto had refused to play at centre half against Sheff United, and as a consequence, was 'on his way out' at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has moved to allay the fears and concerns that there could be a rift between he and Gilberto, saying:
"I deny that categorically, and I find this assessment disrespectful to a great professional like Gilberto.
"He is 100 per cent professional and is in the squad for tomorrow. He will play.
"I believe that as a manager and as a player you always have one thing in your mind and that is what is good for the club and the team. I cannot fault Gilberto on that since he arrived here.
"Recently he has played less, but his mentality has been superb. It is important to win every single competition and in this one I use younger players because traditionally it has always been like that. It has helped us a lot to develop the players."
I have to say, when i read those headlines, I was a bit disturbed by it all, and I am concerned as to what the future holds for Gibber, a (now) hugely respected member of the squad.
Matty Flamini's put in some great performances lately, in fact since the start of the season, and deserves his run in the team, and I know that you can't keep everyone happy, all of the time. But the though of Gibber exiting the club in January leaves me feeling a bit saddened.
A thoroughly nice guy (so it would seem), mild-mannered, who does his job without fuss. And does it well. A different sort of player to the Flamster, who is more aggressive, nonetheless it is surely too premature to ditch a player who, last time out, was surely our player of the season, and in the absence of TH14, took over the captaincy and nurtured a young team to 4th place, weighing in with crucial goals along the way.
One day, it will be time for Gilberto to move on, as the young guys coming up behind him will overtake him and he will be without much playing time. However, i do not think it is, and hope it is not, that time just yet. Gibber is not exactly over the hill, and surely has much to offer the club.
Arsene, of course, knows best. Much much better than I. I just hope that if Arsenal's and Gilberto's paths are to take different routes soon, that it is not under circumstances that would be a rather sad goodbye to a very loyal servant to the club.
Date:Wednesday October 31 2007
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