Indeed the Blues have sorely missed the Irishman’s under-stated qualities during his agonising three-month spell on the sidelines – and whether by coincidence or not – things are looking up swiftly after his return. Gibson’s 73-minute run-out during the much-improved 1-1 draw with Arsenal was one of many promising signs in a game which restored some of the positivity to all things Everton ahead of a tough run of fixtures, and stand-in skipper Phil Jagielka was quick to praise the 25-year-old.
“It is nice to have him back,” Jagielka said.
“He learnt his trade at Manchester United. He’s composed and has a good range of passing.
“He knows when you put the ball in behind and when to play to feet. He’s not afraid to tackle or head, so he is pretty much the complete midfielder.
“He’s a character as well and good to have around the dressing room.”
The man himself is rarely given to over-statement, but admits he is delighted to be back after struggling to overcome the thigh injury which saw him hobble off against West Brom on September 1.
“It was nice to be back. It’s been a long time coming and meant a lot of work in the gym so I was pleased to be back,” he said.
“It felt good. I came off with a knock on my foot but I’ll be alright for Saturday.
“It was frustrating to come off actually but maybe not doing the full 90 prevented any other niggles.
“It shouldn’t take too long before I’m back to full fitness. I’ve been putting it in with the physios and fitness coaches for the last six weeks.”