Manchester United's Darron Gibson to start against Spurs in Carling Cup final

17 February 2009 12:08
The Irish international has impressed as he has played in every round of the tournament so far, as well as scoring his first two senior goals for United in FA Cup ties with Southampton and Derby.

Ferguson has been so pleased with Gibson's form that he has publicly awarded him a slot in the first XI for Wembley after the game at Pride Park on Sunday, although the 21-year-old insists he is not getting his hopes up just yet.

Gibson said: "I've had a good run in the Carling Cup this season, playing in every game and I'm really looking forward to the final. Fingers crossed I'll play but the manager has not told me anything yet.

"I've always played as a central midfielder and obviously I feel more comfortable there but I don't mind playing on the right if the manager wants me to – I'm just happy to be on the pitch.

"We've got a great squad and the young players that are coming in are doing well and taking their chances. Hopefully that will continue and we can keep helping the team do well."

Gibson has taken his time to break into the senior set-up at Old Trafford, farmed out on loan to United's feeder club Royal Antwerp and then Wolves before returning to Manchester and slowly establishing himself as an energetic presence in midfield.

He has been rewarded this season with his Premier League debut against Stoke and his first Champions League bow 10 days later against Villarreal. But it is in the cup competitions, where Ferguson has stood by his vow to blood his youth and reserves, that he has shone.

Ferguson is likely to name a stronger side on March 1 than he has in the previous rounds, but Gibson, as well as the likes of Danny Welbeck and Ben Foster, are likely to be involved as reward for their efforts in steering the club to Wembley.

FIVE MORE TO WATCH

Danny Welbeck – Arguably the brightest prospect Manchester United have produced since the Beckham generation. Fast-tracked from the under-18s to the first team squad in less than a year, the 19-year-old striker scored on his league debut with a 20-yard strike against Stoke. Occasionally deployed out wide, the Manchester-born striker's future lies in a more central role.

Fabio – Injury prevented the younger of the da Silva twins from making the same sort of impact Rafael did, but has already shown glimpses that he may even be the better of the two. Lightning quick, skilful and surprisingly tough. Fabio, on the left, and Rafael, on the right, have been called Brazil's answer to the Nevilles. With all due respect to Gary and Phil, they could be a lot better than that.

Federico Macheda – Young striker brought to United's academy from Lazio in 2007, the 17-year-old Italian signed a professional deal a year later. Nicknamed Kiko by his team-mates, he has graduated from the youth teams to the reserve side and even been named as a provisional member of United's squad for the Champions League. Regarded as one of Italy's brightest prospects for years.

Davide Petrucci – Another Italian, this time an all-action midfielder brought to the club last summer from Roma after a bitter wrangle with the Serie A side. Caught the eye scoring 14 goals in 19 matches in youth football and a star for the Italian under-17 team, Petrucci is close friends with Macheda and Ferguson believes that will help the pair form a promising partnership on the field.

Richard Eckersley – 19-year-old right back drafted into the senior set-up after injuries to Rafael da Silva, Wes Brown and Gary Neville. Made his debut in the FA Cup against Spurs and featured again in the 5-0 mauling of West Bromwich. A similar type of player to Neville, strong in the tackle and willing to attack, he may find further opportunities scarce as the season reaches its climax.

Source: Telegraph