By Matt Fortune

Kieran Gibbs is the latest in a long line of aspiring Arsenal footballers who have taken the loan route to success. This particular youngster has headed east to make his mark in Norwich's first team.

The talented 18-year-old signed professional terms with Arsenal in September and made his competitive debut in the Carling Cup victory over Sheffield United in October, grabbing an assist.

When the transfer window opened at the turn of 2008, a host of clubs were keen on securing Gibbs' services. However, Carrow Road was, he believes, the ideal destination.

"It [a loan move] was put to me at the beginning of January," Gibbs told "At the time we were still in the Youth Cup and the Carling Cup so we wanted to wait to see how both of those panned out. Then of course the defeat at Spurs happened and the Academy side were beaten by Liverpool. It was the day after that that I left for Norwich."

"I think it is the best place for me to go because I know David Bentley had a good time of it at Norwich and it is a good club. A few other clubs had been mentioned but Norwich was recommended to me and I was happy to go with it."

A month and half into the spell, Gibbs has made four appearances for the faltering Canaries, and, while he admits it has been far from plain sailing, the midfielder is content with his progress.

"I have only played in four games now but I have enjoyed it," he continued. "It's great for me to be training day in day out with a first team. Then there is the travelling home and away which has been good for me too.

"I wouldn't say it has been easy to adapt to up here but is a challenge I am happy to take on. On the football side of things is a bit different and for that it has been good for me.

"It is also a lot quieter up here. I wouldn't say I am a country boy so I am not used to the quiet life. I am staying in a country club hotel with three other players so that has been fine."

It is all well picking up experience, but how can Gibbs ultimately profit when he returns to the Club at the end of the season?

"I have learnt how intense it is paying at a professional level," he revealed. "The amount of games you have, you don't realise it until you are at that level that you have to look after yourself properly.

"Playing in the Reserves at Arsenal, there are one or two games per month so you have a lot of time to recover. Here you can often have just a couple of days so you have to know how to recover properly and effectively.

"You can also look at players like Dion Dublin and I cannot imagine how he is still going. His knowledge of the game is superb. He is always talking to us about how to approach the games and what to expect from the different environments we will play in. He has certainly hoped me a lot."

With such professionals able to lend a hand to his development, Gibbs is certainly heading in the right direction.

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18 Mar 2008