Arsene Wenger believes that Kieran Gibbs is moving into “second gear” now as he learns to trust his body and his talent.
The 25-year-old struggled with injuries during the early part of his career, but made his highest number of Arsenal appearances last season.
The England international was in fine form in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, and Wenger believes there is much more to come from him.
"On Saturday he showed the personality to impose himself and took the game by the scruff of the neck for a long period in the second half"
“It looks to me that he’s going into second gear now and he realises that he can trust his body, he can trust his talent,” the manager said.
“On Saturday he also showed the personality to impose himself and took the game by the scruff of the neck for a long period in the second half. That's what you want to see from him because all the talent is there.
“He was [a bit inhibited by his injuries] for a period. What doesn't help is when you're in and out because of injury. You need a consistent presence in the team.
“If you don’t have a consistent presence at the top level, you do not have the confidence that makes you feel you belong to this world.”
Wenger admits he sees a lot of similarities between Gibbs and former Arsenal and England left back Ashley Cole.
“It’s a good example to follow because Ashley's top [quality],” he said. “You see stories about Ashley Cole but on the day of a game, when it mattered and when you had to be there, he was always there. You have to respect that.”
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