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Lewis Gibson Joins The Royals On Loan

Can he compete with our current centre back options to become a regular starter?

Blackpool v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Kevin Barnes - CameraSport via Getty Images

Lewis Gibson has joined Reading on season-long loan from Everton, as Veljko Paunovic looks to strengthen the defence.

According The Liverpool Echo, Paunovic was heavily involved in this negotiation - and there is be the option for the Premier League side to recall him in January if necessary, with Carlo Ancelotti rating him highly.

Paunovic said of Gibson:

“I am absolutely delighted that Lewis has come to join the group and to be part of what we are trying to achieve here at Reading.

“A confident and capable left-footed defender who is comfortable on the ball and aware of the philosophy we are implementing out on the training pitch, he has promise and potential in abundance as well as the talent to make an impact as a Royal this season. I am sure he will add competition to our defence and a readiness to our squad.”

The centre back spent the second part of last season on loan at Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town in League One, as part of a team that were challenging for promotion in the third tier until the coronavirus pandemic halted action.

In the nine regular league games Gibson appeared in for Barton’s side, he kept four clean sheets, conceded just six goals in total, won six of those games and drew three.

However, the playoffs were a completely different story. He was part of a side that lost 6-3 on aggregate to Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-final - although he did receive sympathy from a Toffee.

Gibson, who will have a point to prove after that loss, will be competing with four players for a spot in central defence. Liam Moore and Michael Morrison are currently the first-choice centre backs, with academy graduates Tom McIntyre and Tom Holmes also ready to step up to the plate when needed.

There are question marks over whether we need him with these existing options in defence. However, the 20-year-old will definitely be useful if we decide to play three at the back, or if Holmes goes out on loan again.

Gibson also comes with a wealth of youth international experience, playing in various age groups in the England setup - and can also operate as a left back. With a severe lack of experience in that position at the moment, his versatility is needed.

Let’s hear what Everton and Fleetwood Town fans have to say about him: