Lewis Gibson shone as Everton got their Premier League 2 campaign underway against Leicester City on Monday.
Two years ago, Everton invested £6 million in a 17-year-old who had never played a single second of first-team football, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
Clearly, the Toffees saw something special in Lewis Gibson, the former Newcastle United defender who is equally comfortable at centre-half or at left-back. And, with Everton going into the new Premier League season lacking depth in defence, could a Premier League debut be on the cards over the next few months?
If we had posed that question last week, the answer would have been a resounding ‘no’.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, head coach Marco Silva claimed that Gibson was ‘not ready’ to make the step up to first-team action.
Yet anyone who watched the teenager in action during Everton’s Premier League 2 opener against Leicester City on Monday night will surely argue that Silva was a little harsh in his assessment.
Because Gibson, who captained Everton’s U23s in the final few weeks of their Premier League 2 title-winning campaign last season, picked up where he left off with a commanding performance against Leicester at the Pure Stadium.
The England youth star was not only strong and composed at the heart of David Unsworth’s defence, he was also more than comfortable carrying the ball out from the back and starting attacks from deep. In short, he looked a cut above and is clearly starting to outgrow the rather small pond of youth-team football.
Sporting director Marcel Brands was in attendance, watching on from above and scouring Everton’s academy for young talents capable of making the step up this season.
With Everton failing to replace Kurt Zouma or Phil Jagielka, one of Gibson’s best performances in Everton colours could hardly have been better timed.