Lewis Gibson returns to action for The Owls

Monday, 21 February, 2022 18comments  |  Jump to last

Everton U23s defender Lewis Gibson has resumed his season-long loan at Sheffield Wednesday in League One after nearly 4 months out recovering from injuries.

Lewis Gibson made his long-awaited comeback in Saturday's 3-1 triumph for Sheffield Wednesday at Doncaster Rovers. He got 20 minutes as a sub and provided the cross for The Owls' go-ahead goal in the second half.

It was Gibson's first senior outing in 4 months and only the third appearance of his loan spell at Hillsborough.

"He has worked really hard to get back in," said Owls boss Darren Moore. "He gives us that balance that we have not really had so much this season. We had to play Marvin [Johnson] there (at centre-back) earlier on in the season.

"I thought he played well (on Saturday); his defensive work was good. He brings us that natural balance and can open the pitch for us with his left foot.

"You saw him step forward and contribute to Saido's goal. I am delighted to have him back and that he was part of a winning team."

The young Everton defender joined The Owls on loan back in August but he has endured a tough time with injuries since arriving at Hillsborough with the aim of finally giving him an extended run of first-team football to build up his experience.

Signed at 17 by Everton for their development squad from Newcastle United in the summer of 2017 for an initial fee just below £1M, Gibson consolidated his place in David Unsworth's U23s side but hasn't yet made the step up to the first team as the focus has been on sending him out on loan to the lower divisions.

Gibson, who has never played for the Everton first-team in 4½ years at the club, had to wait until October to make his debut for The Owls but a muscular problem picked up later in the month meant he had only played two 45-minute halves for the Yorkshire club, only one of which was in League One.

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Sheffield Wednesday were thought to be looking to cut short the loan deal so they could bring in a replacement in the January transfer window.


Reader Comments (18)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 21/02/2022 at 17:20:42
Kick on, young man. Make it happen for yourself.
Mike Hayes
2 Posted 21/02/2022 at 17:25:08
Let's hope he stays injury-free and has a great end to the season.
Ajay Gopal
3 Posted 21/02/2022 at 17:41:19
Hopefully he does well enough to be an option for us next season.
Derek Knox
4 Posted 21/02/2022 at 18:14:08
Made up for the lad, still have high hopes for him, as Ajay said maybe a squad member next season!
Justin Doone
5 Posted 21/02/2022 at 23:54:46
He could tag team with Mina or more likely shadow his injury record.

I've had it with injury-prone players. Sell him before he leaves us for free. Another what could have been... Next!

Alan J Thompson
6 Posted 22/02/2022 at 04:49:05
I suppose 21 or 22 is young for a central defender but he's been here nearly 5 years.

Bought from Newcastle for around £1M but has to go out on loan to improve, what was the point in bringing him to Finch Farm?

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 22/02/2022 at 09:32:23
How long has Lewis Gibson got left on his contract with Everton?
Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 22/02/2022 at 10:07:09
It's a good question, Alan @6.

Given the mission of the Academy is to bring young players through to the first team, they presumably have some sort of a plan for increasing those odds by stealing promising youngsters from other Academies in addition to elevating locally acquired youngsters.

It's something that worked out well in the case of Stones and Holgate (Barnsley), Calvert-Lewin (Sheffield United) and hopefully Jarrad Branthwaite (Carlisle Utd).

However, it's not worked in the case of:

Francisco Junior (Benfica)
Apostolos Vellios (Iraklis Thessaloniki)
Fraser Hornby (Northampton Town)
Joao Virginia (Arsenal)
Nathangelo Markelo (FC Volendam 019)
Josh Bowler (QPR)
Matty Foulds (Bury)
Chris Renshaw (Oldham Athletic)
Joe Hilton (Manchester City)
Henry Onyekuru (KAS Eupen)
Boris Mathis (Metz)
Shani Tarashaj (Grasshopper Zurich)
Dennis Adeniran (Fulham)
Nicolas Hansen (Weston FC)
Luke Garbutt (Leeds Utd)
Sam Byrne (Man Utd)
Louis Gray (Wrexham)
David Henen (Anderlecht / Olympiakos)
Brendan Galloway (MK Dons)
Leandro Rodríguez (River Plate)
Lewis Gibson (Newcastle Utd).

I've probably missed a few more from the second list. You could possibly add Ademola Lookman (Charlton Athletic). I didn't include our current U23 players who are imports as it's hard to know who might make it or not at this stage.

But the point as ever with young players, is the huge risk that they are not going to make it. No-one wants to hear that, but the odds are hugely stacked against them just in terms of sheer numbers that are destined to fall by the wayside.

Thinking back and the solutions offered amidst the angst over our FFP troubles, the solution is to bring players up, either through or into the Academy. However, I think we all know only too well it's a low-percentage play.

Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 22/02/2022 at 10:14:56

His contract is up in June of this year. So he will be released and we will get no fee for him. That will be 5 years at Everton, without playing a single game at senior level, despite the promise he presumably showed at Newcastle.

Robert Tressell
10 Posted 22/02/2022 at 10:25:24
Shame for Gibson, who probably will find his level in the Championship as Bowler is now doing. We paid very modest sums for both, given we won't pay add-ons associated with first-team appearances etc.

Your list of academy acquisitions goes back a very long way, Michael – and I'd argue about a few of them. Onyekuru for example was never bought to develop in our academy. We also made a healthy profit on him. Most of them we paid nothing (eg, Ellis Simms) or next to nothing for, too.

Given that any young player will be valued around £10M or more after about 15 Premier League appearances, it seems a very logical place to invest, even if quite a few don't make the grade.

Kevin Prytherch
11 Posted 22/02/2022 at 10:33:33
I'm with Robert here. Michael's list mustn't have cost us more than £20 million, but we either have decent profits or a few first-team players out of it.

Compare that with some of our big money flops such as Gbamin, Niasse etc and it's definitely worth the risk knowing that 1 in 5 might make it.

Sam Hoare
12 Posted 22/02/2022 at 11:20:12

Josh Bowler is maybe one we might have hung onto a bit longer. I always thought he looked a cut above for the U23s and is doing very well this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the Premier League in another year or two though he's not currently better than Richarlison, Gray, Gordon etc.

The profit made on the likes of Stones, Lookman, Vlasic, Onyekuru and that will be made on Calvert-Lewin (and possibly Holgate and Branthwaite) will be far more than we have spent on youth players.

Good scouting and recruitment at this level can be extremely lucrative as the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool have shown. Compared to the vast sums of money we have thrown away on players over 25, it would seem the obvious way to go as a business model.

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 22/02/2022 at 11:22:17
Robert (10).

You could also argue the second contract each of these young players signed for Everton were handed out far too easily and with not a lot of thought applied to them, Luke Garbutt a prime example.

After just a few first-team games, he was handed a 5- year contract at around £1.5M a year and then spent most of it on loan with various clubs, with, I think, Everton paying quite a lot of his wages.

Although we did make modest profits on some of the youngsters like Fraser Hornby, Anthony Evans and most probably Jao Virginia after his loan period is up in Spain.

Robert Tressell
14 Posted 22/02/2022 at 11:42:38
That's right, Dave – although a lot has changed since Garbutt was handed his bumper package.

We seem to be more professional / ruthless with the U23s now – no longer allowing players to stagnate on Easy Street there.

In the past few years, we've bought Branthwaite, Jagne and Okoronkwo. That looks like quite a decent selection to me. Jagne not yet found his feet but must have been hard arriving from Sweden at 16 and then living through the pandemic. The other two look very impressive.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 22/02/2022 at 12:01:53
Robert (14),

Yes, Branthwaite looks to be a very good signing and hopefully will even contribute sometime this season in the fight against the drop.

Okoronkwo has started off well since he started playing for us and looks like a big strong skilful footballer who seems to enjoy playing football with a big smile on his face a lot of the time.

Jagne is a new one on me, Robert, I'd never heard of him until I read your post.

You are correct in that there seems to be a more professional look at things at the Academy since the start of this season and I hope it stays that way. Maybe needs a new man looking at it and the coaching side could be another improvement.

David Bromwell
16 Posted 22/02/2022 at 12:56:32
Young Gibson is a nice footballer with a good left foot, skills which are in short supply for a centre-half.

Whether he has been unlucky with injuries or his body is not suited to professional sport are questions that need to be resolved. I do hope he can go someway by playing well and regularly to the end of the season.

Good luck to him, I hope he makes it.

Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 02/03/2022 at 03:10:16
Michael (#8);

Just reading about another young foreign lad who is not on your list as perhaps he was never even signed, I believe his Old Man played... name of Haaland or something, and now getting games in Germany. We can spot 'em.

Michael Kenrick
18 Posted 02/03/2022 at 15:54:08
Seems we had Erling Haaland for all of 4 days – on trial, Alan... before the Academy decided he was good, but not good enough.

Definitely a candidate for the One That Got Away category. But only with the dubious benefit of hindsight. I suppose it's the other side of the same coin: signing players who turn out to be useless, versus sacking off ones who turn out to be brilliant. Seems we just can't win.

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