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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Fallen back in love with the game

Jordan Gibson on a great goal and on maintaining belief through tough times

10 January 2022

Winger Jordan Gibson grabbed his sixth goal of the season in some style on Saturday afternoon when he let rip from the edge of the area to send the team into the half-time break with smiles on their faces and loud cheers ringing in their ears.

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And it was also a moment of personal satisfaction as he netted against the club which had started his career, but which had also provided him with some tough challenges when he found himself out of favour and out of the first-team squad at Valley Parade.

Speaking first about the stunning strike (we jokingly suggested it was actually a cross) he said: “Ha, nah, good finish wasn’t it.

“I actually said to the lads before the game that I felt like I was going to score. I spoke to Tristan [Abrahams] and asked if he ever got that feeling where you’re thinking – I know I’m going to score today – and he said yeah, sometimes that happens.

“It was good to see it go in and the celebration … I felt like I got treated fairly badly there, and that’s nothing against the fans, it’s just that at the time I know and the lads know how I was treated, and obviously I was getting booed in the first half, so it was good to give a bit back.”

“I’d had a few efforts before that, but I rushed them a little bit, so on that one I composed myself and tried to find the top corner,” he added. “Luckily it went in. I started on the right, but I drifted over to the left, and that was where the goal came from.

“I like to cut in and shoot and it was good to see it fly in. It was a decent goal but I have to say it’s not the top one. That was one I scored for Sligo at the start of the season. It is up there though, and it’s good because of the game it was. I had a feeling I would score and it happened for me.

“It’s maybe not my best but it’s one of the most satisfying, a bit of relief. There’s nothing better than scoring a goal. Everyone who has played the game will tell you there’s no better feeling, because there’s loads of emotion, adrenalin and you can’t control yourself sometimes.

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Like I say, I did miss a few but if you don’t shoot you don’t score. I believe in my own ability and I always felt like I’d hit the target if I kept getting into the positions.”

And he was quick to point out that his celebration was in no way meant as a dig towards the visiting fans.

“I wasn’t going out there to prove to the fans that I was good enough, or anything like that, because I had some good moments and I made my professional debut there,” he insisted. “I started my career there, so the fans might think I was giving a bit to them, but it’s just that I went through a rough patch where I did feel I was treated unfairly.

“The celebration is just a mix of emotions and obviously if I’m going to get a bit when I’m on the pitch I’m going to give it back. It definitely wasn’t against the fans, it was just emotion.

“I love getting a bit of stick, you can’t beat it, and I thought it was going to come. I was hearing it and I just knew I was going to score. The celebration was a reflection of that.

“The ball went in just before half time, it’s a great time to score, and that made it an even better feeling.”

Having been through a testing period of his life with the Bantams, he admitted that his move to Cumbria has given him the kind of lift he needed as he looks to make his mark.

“I’ve fallen back in love with the game, and growing up all I wanted to do was play football,” he explained. “When I went through that rough stage, I think certain lads would crumble with what I experienced.

“You have to be mentally strong because I was training on own, or there would be six others, and we had no footballs, it was just running round the pitch.

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“That’s why I gave a little bit back when I scored, it was an emotional relief, because I know some lads would fold under that and not have the willingness to keep going and try to do well for themselves.

“That’s what I am, I know what I’m good at, I know I’m a good player, and it’s down to me to try to push my myself as much as possible.

“I never ever felt that I’d give up when I was there. You do lose confidence when a manager doesn’t want to play you, or doesn’t see that you add value to the team, but I believe in myself, always have done, and I always will do.

“I know what I’m about and I’m glad that I’m proving it to the Carlisle fans. You get to do that because your belief comes from within.

“It’s about what you want in life, and from your career, because nobody is going to create your career for you.

“It’s a game of opinions and I knew that once I got somewhere where I could play football and show my ability I’d be fine. I have the mindset that I’m going places and nobody is stopping me.”

Goal number six keeps him in sight of his personal target of hitting double figures for the season.

“I’ve missed chances in games but I know what I’m capable of doing,” he told us. “I just need to compose myself in the final third, and that’s what the gaffer has been saying as well.

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“I get in good positions so it’s just about making sure I hit the target. I want to add to my tally and get as many goals as possible, and as many assists as possible, so I’ll keep trying to do that.

“I want double figures for goals, I’m on six now, so I kind of want 10 in the league and five assists, if I can. If I get more, great, but I came into the team quite late, six games into the season, so I want to add value by being up there in the scoring and assist charts.

“I want to help defensively as well, because it’s not all about goals and assists. We need everyone to chip in with everything and as long as we keep being hard to beat then we know goals can win games.

“Setting targets like that is no problem for me. It’s because I know I’m capable of doing it. When I was in Ireland I was on seven goals and five assists, and I think I’m on six and two now. I want to better myself every week, and I always look back on games to see where I can be better.”

“I’m working hard at helping the team to defend as well,” he continued. “I love defending, and I’ll always do whatever I can for the team.

“I know my role within the team, so I track back and I try to make blocks and tackles. The back four need the wide men to work hard, so I’ll do that and then try to be creative as well.

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“We’re all together, we all believe in the same thing, and we’re all pushing in the same direction. We want to see how high we can get up the table, obviously it wasn’t a great start, but we’ve got good players in the team and with the likes of Omari and Tyrese adding to that, as you saw today, that can only improve us more.

“All three of the new lads have been class, to be honest. It’s a good squad, and since the new gaffer has come in the belief has been massive. We believe in what we’re doing, we believe in what he’s asking us to do, and the performances have been good.

“Within our roles in the team we’re trying to get better every week and results have been picking up recently. I think that’s four league wins from five, and we’re getting the clean sheets as well.

“We’re defending well as a team, we’re hard to break down and we look solid at set pieces. We look like scoring when we attack, and I think we’re improving every week.”

And on his strengthening relationship with the fans, he said: “It’s massive, I feel at home here, I’ve enjoyed myself a lot.

“I try to give my all for the club and for the fans and at the moment it’s going well. The style of play suits me as well, and I think people can see that.

“It’s about working hard for the team and you’re not going to win games if you don’t do that. I enjoy that side of it. I’m learning with every game in terms of positioning and how to best help the team.

“The dressing room is buzzing at the moment and there’s nothing better than winning a football game. We all want to push on now.

“We’ve two more games at home, so let’s see what points we can get from that, and then we can look forward to the rest of the season.

“All we have to do is just keep doing what we’re doing. Something is right because we’re picking up wins, so we just have to keep pushing and working hard for each other in the same way.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Jordan Gibson on iFollow United now.

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