Is it now or never for forgotten man Ben Gibson? - Will £15m man start for Burnley against West Ham?

Ben Gibson
Ben Gibson

He has almost become the forgotten man of Turf Moor.

But Sean Dyche admits £15m joint club record signing Ben Gibson knew the size of the challenge facing him when arriving from Middlesbrough in August 2018.

The 26-year-old has only made one Premier League start since, scoring a consolation goal in a 5-1 home defeat to Everton on Boxing Day that became the turning point of the Clarets' season.

This time last year he was just recovering after a second hernia operation, after complications following his return to fitness after the initial surgery, but he has had a watching brief since, with Ben Mee and James Tarkowski unbroken as the first-choice centre back pairing.

But with Dyche acknowledging he could have taken off his entire back four at half-time in the 3-0 reverse at Sheffield United on Saturday, will Gibson get his shot against West Ham at the weekend?

Gibson backed himself to break into the side when signing, and Dyche said of him: “I think Gibbo is most realistic in that sense, he’s not naive, he knew Ben Mee, Tarky, that they’re good players, playing well, but he wanted the challenge.

“And the challenge sometimes comes in that way, Ben Mee has hardly missed a game, and continues to hardly miss a game, so it’s not easy on that score.

“But the players, having been a player, buy into the challenge of whatever is in front of you, and you do it for the right reasons, and he’s certainly done that.

“He came in to make a mark and wants to play, but also knows there’s good players playing as well.

“Longy has been sitting there as well and he’s an international footballer, he doesn’t always play. He’s probably played more than some people think, but he’s probably sitting there the same, he’s been digging it out for years, keeping his professionalism right, his quality levels right, his training right, but gets a handful of games at a time.

“That’s sometimes the challenge of the job."

Mee and Tarkowski have performed well so far this season, but the defence has shipped nine goals in the last three games - seven in the last two.

Dyche said before the run of three-successive Premier League defeats: "I think they are honest players and are respectful of that moment in time, and at the minute, I don’t think either will be questioning Ben and Tarky in their current form.

“They’d just go ‘yeah, we get it’, and it doesn’t mean they’re not frustrated, but they’re a very honest group, honest with their own professionalism.

“It’s not that they don’t value themselves either, it’s just they’re looking in and saying ‘yeah, they’re performing well’."

With Dyche's admission that he could make changes against the Hammers, could it be a case of now or never for Gibson?