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Top Newcastle United youth prospect explains why he deserted the team he supports

12 months ago

Rated Newcastle’s best youth prospect, a young player at a club he’d supported all his life, yet eight days after turning 17, Lewis Gibson walked away from Newcastle United.

The exciting young player, leaving a club renowned for not bringing players through successfully to the first team, for one that has an enviable record of doing so.

Back in July 2017 it was seen as a body blow for both Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United, in terms of the long-term hopes for the club.

Overcoming a couple of bad injuries, Lewis Gibson has now been training with the Everton first team and helped their reserves keep five clean sheets in the last six matches, meaning the scousers have won the top tier Under 23s division (Newcastle are currently in the second tier but in the promotion play-offs).

Now 18 and pushing for his first team debut, Lewis Gibson has been talking to the Liverpool Echo about why he left Newcastle United.

For the vast majority of players who choose to move, young or old, it is almost always about money and/or ambition.

You can only assume it was both in the case of Lewis Gibson.

Rafa Benitez wants to take the club forward from top to bottom and we are still waiting to see whether Mike Ashley will sell up or accept the need to radically change how Newcastle United is run.

Lewis Gibson talking  to the Liverpool Echo:

“We sat down (in 2017) and discussed what would be the best route for me to play first-team and make my debut competitively.

“I didn’t really think at the time that Newcastle was right for me and when I was told about Everton I knew the interest they put into me.

“They pushed for me a lot, compared to other clubs, and I felt like this was the right place for me to develop as a player.

“I’ve been proved right so far and I’ve been happy with my decision. I’ve developed a lot as a player.

“I imagined myself at Everton and knew there was a clear pathway.

“You see the players coming through, Dom, Jonjoe, Davo and people like that, and I knew there was a trust in young players.

“I knew that one of the main things Everton fans look for is for young players to come through. They want to see the next youth player go through. I’m just hoping to be one of them sooner rather than later.

“Obviously you still look out for Newcastle.

“I’ve supported them since I was six and ever since I remember I’ve been going the game as a season ticket holder with my dad and brother.

“I’ll always be thankful for what they did for me. Every single coach I played with from u-9’s to u-18’s, I got on with.

“I knew the responsibility that they’d given me to play for Newcastle.

“That’s my hometown club. I loved playing for them.”

27 July 2017:

Everton have confirmed the transfer of top Newcastle prospect Lewis Gibson.

In a major blow for Rafa Benitez’ long-term plans, NUFC have lost the left-back who attracted the attention of all the top clubs.

Whilst the United boss is desperate to get rid of any number of unwanted first team squad players, he most definitely didn’t want to lose the 17 year old Geordie defender.

Sadly Rafa paying the price for what has gone on before he arrived at Newcastle United, with Lewis Gibson declaring ‘Everton is a brilliant club and when the opportunity presented itself I wanted to be part of it’.

The youngster’s statement showing just how far Newcastle still need to go before they can convince any young player, especially local ones, that St James Park has everything to offer.

No news of what the transfer fee was but previous reports have claimed it is around the £6m mark, with potentially some of that dependent on making so many appearances.

Everton Official Announcement:

‘Everton have completed the signing of highly-rated 17-year-old defender Lewis Gibson from Premier League rivals Newcastle United.The defender has agreed a three-year contract with the Blues and will link up with David Unsworth’s Under-23s squad.

A product of Newcastle’s Academy, Gibson was a regular starter in the north east club’s Under-18s side last season and, after impressing, he was promoted to their reserve team.

His form for the Magpies earned him a call-up to England’s Under-17s side for this summer’s European Championships in which he was an ever-present as the Young Lions were beaten on penalties in the final by Spain.

“Everton is a brilliant club and when the opportunity presented itself I wanted to be part of it,” Gibson said.

“The reputation has long been there that Everton brings through young players.

“You only have to look at the likes of Tom Davies, Kieran Dowell, Jonjoe Kenny and several others who are battling for first-team places to know this.

“I’m a player who is willing to put my body on the line, the kind of defender who likes to tackle and is not afraid. I’m excited to be part of things here and I want to continue developing as a player. This is where I want to be.”

Gibson becomes the fifth summer addition to Everton’s Premier League 2-winning Under-23s squad following the arrivals of defender Nathangelo Markelo, forwards Anton Donkor and Boris Mathis and winger Josh Bowler.


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