By Declan Taylor

Kolo Toure is confident that Kieran Gibbs can handle the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Gael Clichy’s back injury has thrust Gibbs into the first-team spotlight in recent weeks and the 19-year-old has impressed with a series of accomplished performances.

However, Wednesday’s Champions League Semi-Final first leg against Man United could pit him against Ronaldo, the Fifa World Player of the Year.

Toure is convinced that his young defensive colleague has the quality to stem the Portuguese’s flow but he was keen to stress that stopping Man United will certainly be a collective effort.

“Let Gibbs play,” the Ivorian said. “He is a good player and very intelligent.

“He came in at a really difficult time when we play the big teams and I think he has showed good character and I am really happy for what he has done for the Club.

“Its always really difficult when you are young and you come in to play against the big players. I think he is going to perform very well on Wednesday.

“Ronaldo is a really good player. But it’s not only about Gibbs - it is about all the players. If we are focused and defend together then nobody can beat us.”

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27 Apr 2009