Sheffield United: What Wolves' Morgan Gibbs-White really meant during a revealing interview and how it affects The Blades
He didn’t say so explicitly, but the inference was clear.
By expressing his frustration, even anger, at the lack of first team opportunities on offer at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Morgan Gibbs-White made it plain he wants to remain with Sheffield United beyond January.
The midfielder’s future was the subject of intense speculation earlier this term when, after being signed on loan by manager Slavisa Jokanovic, he made an explosive start to his career in South Yorkshire. That prompted suggestions he could be summoned back to Molineux early in the New Year, with all season long agreements brokered between Premier League and Championship clubs containing recall clauses.
Although Jokanovic and Bruno Lage, the Serb’s counterpart at Wolves, both downplayed those claims, Gibbs-White’s comments as he prepares for England under-21’s forthcoming games against the Czech Republic and Georgia should finally put the matter to bed. Indeed, speaking from their training base at St George’s Park, it is now Lage who will be sweating after hearing the youngster suggest he has no interest in prolonging his career with the top-flight side unless a clear route into their starting eleven is mapped-out by the Portuguese.
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“As a young player, all you want to do is play games,” Gibbs-White said. “When you don’t get games, it’s frustrating, you get angry.
“At Wolves, I wasn’t getting the game time I wanted to so the recognition wasn’t there. Since I’ve been in Sheffield it’s been going well, I’ve been scoring goals and getting assists.”
“I feel I’m at a stage of my career where I’m ready to play week in, week out,” he continued. “Going to Sheffield United was the right move because I didn’t want to be sat on the bench at a Premier League team. I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
Despite being part of last weekend’s soporific performance against Blackburn Rovers, which raises questions about the character of United’s squad, Gibbs-White has had a transformative effect upon the club’s play since leaving the Midlands. Indeed, after scoring four goals and creating two others, questions must be asked why his move from Wolves was not processed until the end of the summer transfer window when, speaking soon after his arrival in August, the youngster admitted United had first made contact with his employers over a month earlier. Jokanovic’s side had contested five Championship games before Gibbs-White finally made his debut during a 6-2 win over Peterborough.
Having accumulated only two points from those outings, United were already 11 points behind the top two when they prepared to face the visitors from Cambridgeshire.
Although the funding is unlikely to be placed at Jokanovic’s disposal to allow him to make a serious bid to retain Gibbs-White’s services on a permanent basis, Lee Carsley’s decision to end his two year exile from the Young Lions’ squad will increase the pressure on Lage to include him in Wolves’ plans for next term.
Rhian Brewster, who scored his first league for for United since leaving Liverpool 13 months ago, is also working with Carsley’s side ahead of Thursday’s meeting with the Czechs and next week’s trip to Tblisi.
“It’s a privilege to be called up by England,” Gibbs-White said. “I was smiling from ear to ear to be back with the England boys.”