Is this Arsenal defender the unluckiest player in England?

Kieran Gibbs

Luke Shaw was called up to the England squad for the World Cup, but there was no place for the injury-stricken Kieran Gibbs.

Kieran Gibbs has risen in Arsenal's ranks but sits fourth in England's pecking order – the forgotten man in the golden era of English left-backs.

After being given his first cap by Fabio Capello in 2010, Gibbs looked set to be the long-term successor to Ashley Cole. However, Leighton Baines' rise to become arguably the best left-back in the Premier League, along with the timely emergence of Luke Shaw in the run-up to the World Cup, has forced the Arsenal man out of the equation for England.

The strength of depth at the position is extraordinary, particularly when taking into account the fact that a player of Gibbs' talent would definitely travel, if not start at the World Cup if he played on the right.

The Arsenal man will feel unlucky when considering that the likes of Wayne Bridge and Stephen Warnock – capable full-backs but nowhere near the level of talent that Gibbs possesses – have each featured in World Cup squads.

There is no doubt that injury has taken Gibbs out of the frame for the Three Lions. He has been Arsenal's first choice left-back for the past three seasons, but has spent long stretches of each on the sideline. These periods of injury demonstrated Gibbs' true value, as the defensive deficiencies of his replacements - first Andre Santos and later Nacho Monreal - left the Gunners vulnerable on numerous occasions.

Gibbs' misfortune is epitomised by the bizarre case of mistaken identity against Chelsea this season, He was shown a red card for handball by referee Andre Marriner, despite it clearly being Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who committed the goal-line save. It was just another case of wrong place, wrong time for the left-back.

Gibbs may still get his chance for England. At 24, his international career has just begun, and his club form should certainly grant him the opportunity to compete with Shaw and Baines for future tournaments, now that Cole has retired.

However, as the Englishman watches the tournament at home this summer, he will be cursing his bad luck.

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