Some frustrating news for Benitez to hear, as Everton U-23 boss David Unsworth has praised an ‘outstanding’ Lewis Gibson for his performances in the Toffees second string – the former NUFC prospect that was snapped up by the Blues last summer.
Gibson, an England youth international, was tipped for the top at Newcastle, but swapped Tyneside for Merseyside last summer, with the club being powerless to stop him leaving after failing to tie him down to a professional contract.
The eventual fee paid to Newcastle could rise to as much as £5m, but this was a deal that would’ve frustrated Benitez (a man desperately looking to improve our U-23 squad) and Unsworth’s latest comments about the 17-year-old will only rub salt in those wounds:
“Lewis Gibson has been outstanding.
“He’s got better and better and better and he’s a natural born leader and he’s been captain for the last couple of games.”
The Stanley-born defender can operate as a left-back but has played mostly as a centre-half during his 16 appearances in Unsworth’s Everton U-23’s this season – and he’s clearly impressed.
The likes of Freddie Woodman, Victor Fernandez and Mo Sangare seem like promising talents to watch on Tyneside, but Gibson should have been part of that list, and Rafa will be looking to avoid losing any our of top talents like this in the future.