Winger Jordan Gibson quite literally crossed land and sea to complete his deadline beating transfer to Cumbria with a move that has been mooted for close to 14-months finally coming to fruition.
The 23-year-old swapped Sligo for Carlisle this week, and he confirmed that he’s looking forward to getting on with the job at hand with his new club.
“It was a nightmare weekend getting over, to be honest,” he joked. “I left Sligo at half-six in the morning, got a ferry from Belfast, which was three hours from Sligo, and then I drove down from Scotland.
“But, to be honest, as soon as my agent told me to get on my way I was in my car and over here. It’s an opportunity I jumped at and I’m excited to be here.
“It was going on for a couple of weeks with the interest and stuff, and it’s been a bit of a distraction, so to finally get here is exactly what I wanted to happen. I’m just ready to work hard and help the team now.”
Picking up on the fact that Chris Beech had made contact before, he said: “There was a bit of interest at this time last year and I actually spoke with the gaffer in July.
“It didn’t materialise then, but I found out a week into August that there had been a couple of bids. It was just about trying to keep my head down at Sligo and helping them at the same time as trying to push this through. That’s why it’s nice that it’s done now.
“Knowing that the manager wants me is massive. Having spoken to him once, to speak with him again this year made me eager to come. I feel he’s somebody that can really improve me as a player and I’m looking forward to working under him.
“When a club wants you it’s a really big plus. I spoke with the gaffer and he’s seen attributes in my game that he feels he can develop. He wants to work with me as a player and that’s massive for me at this stage in my career. I feel like I’ve got what it takes but it’s just about tweaking what I do so that the best comes out of me.”
And it could well be that the style of play employed by the Blues suits him right down to the ground.
“I’ve seen a few of the boys who went from Bradford to here and they’re doing really well for themselves,” he told us. “I also played with Omari, even though he’s gone now, and I know this club is good for the youth players coming through as well as the younger players they bring in.
“It’s a club that develops players and I’m excited to be given a chance here. I remember seeing them top of the league in January and I was regretting it a little bit that I hadn’t come in the July. When the interest came up again I had to make sure I joined, and hopefully we can go one better this season.
“With how I play, I like to think I’m direct, I like to carry the ball forward and I think I have a burst of pace to get in behind and hurt teams. I enjoy one against ones, scoring goals and making chances.
“I didn’t really play a lot of football at Bradford in terms of starts, so for me to go to Ireland and get consecutive 90 minutes was important. I’ve been able to show that I can score and assist, and it’s been a big confidence booster.
“There’s still a lot more to come from me with positioning and knowing when to make runs in behind, and stuff like that, and I think the gaffer will help me to add a lot more to my game.
“I talked to Joe Riley before I came and he spoke about the pressing and intensity, because the manager wants us to get after teams. That’s my game in a nutshell. I like to win the ball high up the pitch and make chances, and I think that’s why I’ll fit into this team.
“Ultimately scoring goals and creating chances is my game. I was able to showcase that in Ireland and I showed people that I’m about being as high up the pitch as possible. I like to think I’ve got good vision so if a teammate is better placed than me, I’ll give the ball to him. If not, I’ll try to score.”
With a football journey that has thus far taken him from the Midlands, to Scotland, then to the north and south of England, before that fruitful year in Ireland, he comes with a vast amount of experience at a relatively young age.
“Yeah, I’ve been around the world, well, not around the world, but you know what I mean,” he said. “It’s been a good experience and I bring that back into the EFL with me now. For me it’s about making my mark in this league and helping Carlisle United.
“Being with Rangers was obviously good. It’s a massive club, the facilities are really good and I learned a lot. I was only 17 and I really grew up as a person through those two years.
“I’d moved away from home, it’s quite a long way from Birmingham to Glasgow, and it meant I had to look after myself for the first time really. I matured a lot.
“I was with Bradford for three years and it was a difficult time. It wasn’t the best of patches in terms of my career, so from there it was about going somewhere where I was going to play football.
“Playing in Ireland gave me a different feel for different cultures and I was able to express myself. I had a clean slate so I went there to show that I could do well. I played a lot of football and now I just want to kick on.
“I can’t thank Sligo enough for the chance they gave me. The last eight months have been brilliant. I’m here now, I’m a Carlisle player, but Sligo did a lot for me and the gaffer there was tremendous with me.
“He knew I wanted to come back to England and he helped me a lot to make it happen, and I have to thank him for that. I really enjoyed my time there, it’s a great club. Seamus Coleman and Eoin Doyle both played there and they kicked on as well. It’s a lovely, peaceful town with great people, and I really enjoyed being with them.”
“Being with Bradford did give me a little taste for what this league is about,” he added. “But that was coming off the bench now and again mostly. It was a difficult time to be there with so many managers and I was trying to work my through into the first team.
“When this opportunity came to come back into this league it was one I jumped at. I’ve had the experience of playing games and I’ve shown my ability across the water, and I want to do the same in this league and for this club now.”
As for the comparison of standards, he commented: “The intensity in training over the last couple of days here is a lot higher than there. It was the same at Bradford, but it is different over there.
“I’ve played a lot of games and trained all season but I have to adapt to what’s needed over here again. It’s a good standard in Ireland but they play a lot of football, and I’ve been out of the English league for over a year now, so it’s about getting back up to the speed of where I need to be at.
“But I’m at an age where I need to put a marker down. I always believe in myself and I’m confident in myself. I lost that at Bradford a little bit but I’ve had a good spell and I’m ready to show my ability.
“I’m ready, I’m fit and I’m excited. It was in the season basically over in Ireland, so I’ve played games. As I said, the intensity in training has been high so I need to match that, and it’s whether the gaffer wants me on the bench or whatever now.
“I’ve missed the fans back in England, I’m really looking forward to that, so it should be good. I’ve thought about it ever since the interest was there, to be honest with you.
“Getting back out there in front of fans will be superb. The Covid situation in Ireland means that there haven’t been many there, but I’ve seen the atmosphere at Hartlepool and here at Brunton Park and I just want to be part of it.”
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