Gibson ready for return to Old Trafford

PAUL Scholes’ comeback to the Manchester United fold sent a loud and clear message to Londonderry man, Darron Gibson - that he needed to get away from Old Trafford to guarantee himself first team football opportunities.

And this weekend, he gets the chance to come toe to toe against the rejuvenated midfield legend, when Everton take the short trip to Manchester for a televised Premier League clash.

The Derryman had spent the previous six-and-a-half years at Old Trafford hoping that the time would come when he could stake his claim to a permanent midfield spot.

But when United coaxed Scholes back from retirement Gibson knew that, if he could not get into a side that has been pretty poor in comparison with recent teams produced by Sir Alex Ferguson, then it was time to move on. And where better than to Everton, who have been consistently placed just below the top five in recent seasons?

The official Everton website, shows that, since his move, Gibson has made more starts than Scholes and has been subbed off less. The veteran England man has more goals but the website says the “value of Gibson’s sole strike - a winner against Manchester City - can’t be underestimated”. adds: “Derry-born Gibson has often sat in front of the Everton defence since his move and could be required to get to grips with his one-time teammate at Old Trafford on Sunday (April 22).

It quotes Toffees legend, Graeme Sharp, saying: “Scholes dictates a game. I don’t think we should sit off and let him have carte blanche to decide what he wants to do, spray passes all over the places. We’ve got to get tight with him. I think Darron can do that, but it’s a big battle.

“And it’s not just them, Marouane Fellaini’s a big player too. It’s how they cope with Fellaini - I think we can cause them problems.”

It’s in the shooting department - and Gibson is known to have a thunderous shot - that Sharp would like to see an improvement.

He told the Everton website: “We’ll be looking for more goals, more shots on target.

“Darron’s come in and sat in there and formed a good partnership with Fellaini. I think there’s more to come from Darron, as the manager says, but he’s settled in very, very quickly considering he hadn’t played a lot of football before he came to Everton.

“He had to get back into the pace of the Premier League. I think he’s done that well and I think he’s improving with each game. It’ll be a big day for Darron going back to the place where he has spent the majority of his career. I’m sure he’ll get a fantastic reception and quite rightly so. And hopefully he’ll be on the winning team.”