FORMER Leeds United and Republic of Ireland star, Johnny Giles believes Darron Gibson still has a big future at international level despite being axed from the Euro 16 squad at the final hour.
Giles backed Ireland boss, Martin O’Neill’s decision to leave both Gibson and fellow Derry man, Eunan O’Kane behind as they prepare to fly off to France next week, claiming the best players will be on the plane to Paris.
And while the RTE Sport analyst insists Gibson can have few complaints after an injury plagued season, he believes he can bounce back from the heartbreak of missing out on Euro 16.
Giles also suggested the midfielder, who played 68 minutes of Ireland’s final warm-up match against Belarus at Turners Cross before facing the chop, could benefit from a summer move away from Goodison Park after limited opportunities last year under sacked boss, Roberto Martinez.
“Unfortunately with the likes of young Gibson and the others, you just have to tell them they didn’t make it and it’s one of the worst parts of the job,” said Giles who was in Derry yesterday for the launch of the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup tournament.
“Gibson has had some bad injuries,” he added. “He’s been out for a good while and didn’t play many games this season. I know he had a very, very serious injury but that happens. That’s part of the job. Some are lucky and some are not so lucky with injuries.
You would like to think it’s not the end of his Ireland career. He has the summer now to get a bit of a rest. When you get one bad injury you tend to get another one and that’s happened to him.Johnny Giles
“You would like to think it’s not the end of his Ireland career. He has the summer now to get a bit of a rest. When you get one bad injury you tend to get another one and that’s happened to him. So he should get his body back to the way it should be and maybe a move away from Everton might help as well.
“Seasons come around very, very quickly. Next season the Euros will be over and off they go again. So hopefully the guys who were left out get a break in the summer and come back stronger than they are now.”
The former Manchester United and Leeds legend believes Ireland boss, O’Neill was faced with a difficult decision but agrees with his final selection which includes Derry duo, James McClean and Shane Duffy.
“When you’re picking a group of 23 players, you’re going to agree with most of those decisions,” he said.
“Very few countries have 30 world class players. You feel sorry for the lads that were left out but you’re going to have the best players in the 23 that’s for sure. The others would be on the margins.
“But you have to feel a bit of sympathy for the lads that were left out. People like (David) Forde, the goalkeeper, who did really well early on in the campaign. Darron’s had a lot of injuries and that’s been his big problem. If you’re not playing you don’t have the chance to impress the manager.
“I don’t think there’s any real controversy about the lads who didn’t make it to be honest. When you pick 23 you’re not going to leave behind many great players that’s for sure.
“It’s not an enjoyable position to be in. It would have been difficult for the boys left behind and it will have been hard to take.
“I didn’t have that problem because we never qualified,” he laughed.
“But when I was manager, I would have a look at the list, and look at it honestly and ask who are the players that deserve to be in. And then you just have to give the bad news.”