Speaking to the club's official website, Everton manager Roberto Martinez and right-back Seamus Coleman have both reserved special praise for Darron Gibson after the midfielder’s performance in Thursday night’s 3-1 Europa League win over Young Boys at Goodison Park.
Gibson, 27, made his first senior start since October in the second-leg of their last-32 tie against the Swiss side and took away the man of the match award after an excellent all-action display, setting up Kevin Mirallas for the third goal before the break with an exquisite through ball.
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The Republic of Ireland international has faced a battle for playing time since returning from a serious knee injury at the start of the season which forced him to miss much of the 2013-14 campaign, but Martinez has stressed what an important part of the first-team he remains, also highlighting his substitute appearance in the weekend’s 2-2 draw with Leicester.
“Darron is a really important player who we have been missing for a long time,” he said. “I was so pleased with the manner in which he controlled the game against Leicester at the weekend.
“I thought he carried on that performance today and it was great for him to be able to get through 90 minutes.
“We all know it is a difficult to find a player with the skill to find that forward pass and split defenders with a single ball, but Darron has that. He showed it with his ball for Kevin [Mirallas], which was exceptional.”
Teammate and compatriot Coleman echoed that sentiment, adding: “Everyone knows his passing ability – you could see that for Kev’s goal – and we are happy to have him back.
“Unfortunately he had a bad injury and it took him a while to get back from that because he then had a few niggling injuries.
“His range of passing has always been brilliant and before he got injured he was fantastic for us. Hopefully now he can stay injury free and be a big asset for us.”
Signed from Manchester United in January 2012, Gibson has since made 53 total appearances for the Toffees, and proved a key part of David Moyes’ line-up throughout the 2012-13 season.
He’s managed just three starts in 10 outings this term due to the presence of James McCarthy, Gareth Barry and Muhamed Besic in the squad, but there’s no doubt that he has the quality to be an important contributor for the club when called upon.