Belfast Telegraph

Darron Gibson could be out for rest of the season, says Noel King

By Daniel McDonnell

Republic of Ireland interim manager Noel King has confirmed that Darron Gibson could miss most of the season through injury.

Everton said the Londonderry man will have an operation after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.

King went to see Gibson after the 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan and offered some consoling words but he said that the player was devastated.

"It's awful. It might be a few months. Won't be easy (for him) to get back this season," said King.

"He's not good, he's not good. I feel very bad for him because he did give everything he had.

"He's a fine talent and he really could be one of the players Ireland could build around, depending the way they play, in the coming years.

"He was sitting up when I was talking to him (his knee was in a brace). He knows the possibilities, particularly for a fella who is after fighting back from a long injury, it's very hard to take.

"I didn't see what happened (in the match), I just saw him on the floor. It was horrible. He was in agony."

The 25-year-old, who missed the start of the season because of a knee problem, tweeted: "I'm devastated, but would like to thank all the fans for their messages, long road ahead but I'll be back fitter and stronger."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez was part of the Aviva Stadium crowd and went to see Gibson afterwards.

It is a blow to the Spaniard's plans for the coming months given that he had provided the player with an assurance that he was keen to deploy him in a defensive midfield role.

Everton loan signing Gareth Barry will retain a key role, with James McCarthy, already a favourite of Martinez, guaranteed to be regularly involved on account of Gibson's misfortune.

Meanwhile, Richard Dunne would welcome Mick McCarthy's return for a second spell as Republic of Ireland manager.

The 34-year-old defender has knowledge of the three main protagonists in the race to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni having gone to the 2002 World Cup finals under McCarthy and alongside Roy Keane, while he worked with Martin O'Neill during their time together at Aston Villa.

Skipper Robbie Keane admitted that he would welcome the appointment of any member of that trio after urging the Football Association of Ireland to go for a man who would take a bold and fearless approach to the job.

Keane cited McCarthy as an example of a man who would bring just those qualities to the table, and Dunne agrees.

Asked if the current Ipswich boss was a realistic contender, the QPR defender said: "I think so, yes. He obviously said he might be interested, maybe, in it and having worked with him before, I really enjoyed it, so if he was the FAI's choice, that would be great.

"I think we have got a good squad and it just needs putting into place, really, the team with a leader we can look to and hopefully someone who can guide us to more tournaments."

Keane is anticipating a reasonably quick resolution to the situation with two friendly games in the pipeline during next month's international break.

The 33-year-old striker said: "Probably the friendly games, you would imagine they would probably have a new manager in by then because it wouldn't make sense, really, to have two friendly games if you didn't have a new manager in.

"He needs to see what players are available to him and what players have to offer."

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