Gibbs can replace Cole for England, says Arsenal boss Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes Kieran Gibbs can match his Arsenal predecessor Ashley Cole and become the first-choice left-back of the England national team, Sky Sports has reported.

Gibbs has three caps for his country and is Wenger’s preferred option in the position, over Nacho Monreal, but Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw, of Everton and Manchester United respectively, are ahead of Gibbs in the running to succeed Cole in the long-run following the Roma man’s international retirement.

But Wenger has told England counterpart Roy Hodgson that Gibbs is the best bet to succeed Cole and if Gibbs follows Cole’s lead, he can nail down the No.3 shirt. “For a long time it was Ashley Cole, no discussion, now it is a bit more open,” Wenger said. “It is a good example to follow because Ashley is top.

“Kieran 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 long-serving manager continued. “He has such a great potential that now he just needs to let it go, because he can dribble as well.

“When he arrived at the club, he was 16 and he was a winger, midfielder, and I saw that potential didn’t really come out so we always try to show him confidence.”

Wenger added that the reason he allowed Gael Clichy to leave for Manchester City was to allow Gibbs to fulfil his potential and give the Arsenal side a more English feel.

“I saw he…was a bit similar to Ashley Cole. I let Clichy go because (Gibbs) was a young, English left-back,” Wenger confirmed. “That’s the main reason I let Clichy go, I wanted to give him a chance.”

Gibbs, 25, made his Arsenal debut in 2007 and has gone on to play more than 150 times for the club, scoring four goals. He won his first senior trophy in 2014, lifting the FA Cup.

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