Brands’ disasterclass looking worse and worse with Everton man’s intensity questioned – opinion

Marcel Brands’ decision to sanction a one-season loan for Lewis Gibson continues to look worse and worse amid the Everton defender being frozen out at Reading.

What’s the word?

Everton agreed to send Gibson to the Madejski Stadium for the 2020/21 season in the hope the 20-year-old could build on his brief stint in League One with Fleetwood Town, whom he joined in January and quickly established a place in the starting line-up.

Gibson opened all nine of his third-tier outings with the Fisherman before the campaign was cut short amid the coronavirus pandemic as they strove to secure a play-off spot, where he again featured throughout though losing 6-3 on aggregate to eventual winners Wycombe Wonderers in the Semi-Finals.

The England U20 international’s deal to join Reading came at a time the Royals sat top of the Championship after two wins from two, but has been unable to find a role where he can play under Veljko Paunovic as his temporary side continue to push for promotion.

Reading, who need just a point against Stoke City on Saturday to remain top, are suffering a defensive crisis, however, with mistakes creeping in to the Royals’ backline that has allowed six goals in their last two games.

Favoured centre-half Liam Moore also picked up an injury in defeat to Coventry City, but Gibson saw Tom McIntyre step in for the 3-0 loss at home to Preston North End.

And yet Paunovic is remaining tight-lipped over Gibson’s potential of earning a debut.

“There is no temptation in soccer, but I understand the point,” the Reading boss told Berkshire Live when asked about the prospect of Gibson making his debut against Stoke.

“We always evaluate on a daily basis – especially in these kinds of situations where players are having opportunities.”

Paunovic has named Gibson among his substitutes for all eight available Championship fixtures since the defender’s move to the Madejski Stadium.

Gibson’s intensity questioned

Paunovic seemed to go on and question Gibson’s intensity off the field in defence of his recent defensive selections, adding: “I want to make clear when somebody is injured and a spot opens, it’s an opportunity but that doesn’t mean somebody earned it.

“With that said, the level in training and the level in games has to be proven when you have an opportunity and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Everton will also be looking for Gibson to offer a response to Paunovic’s comments and prove to not only Reading, but also the Blues that he has the desire to prove his worth and take full use of the opportunity Moore’s injury has presented.

If not, Brands’ decision to sanction Gibson’s season-long loan with Reading will continue to look worse by the day as he continues a lengthy wait for his first minutes of the season.

Gibson’s performances last term while with Fleetwood offered marginal evidence to suggest he was ready to make a step up and compete in the Championship, with SofaScore data showing the Durham-born defender as averaging 6.0 duels won (2.5 ground, 3.5 aerial) a game, plus 1.4 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 4.0 clearances.

Time will tell if the 20-year-old can prove his worth at Reading, or if Brands’ summer call was the disasterclass it currently appears to be.

AND in other news, Everton missed the boat with an “amazing” talent who could have filled the void of a club legend.

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