New signing Gibson looking to build on Turf debut
New signing Ben Gibson sees the Europa League as a way in as he seeks to impress Sean Dyche.
With the Burnley boss ringing the changes in the opening qualifiers against Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir the competition provides those players on the fringe of the first team squad the opportunity to get more minutes under their belts.
The former Middlesbrough defender, who graduated from the club’s academy at Rockliffe Park, was one of those to benefit from that squad rotation system as the Clarets earned a two-legged tie with Greek giants Olympiakos, courtesy of an extra-time victory against their Turkish opposition at Turf Moor on Thursday.
The 25-year-old was handed his debut, partnered with Republic of Ireland international at the heart of the defence, and impressed as the hosts kept a third successive clean sheet.
Asked if the competition can enhance his opportunities to play, the former England under 21 international said: “Without a doubt, there’s more games therefore more minutes for people and more opportunities to impress.
“You’re in Europe, you’re testing yourself against the best, look at some of the names on the Istanbul team sheet, Adebayor, Clichy, Emre, Inler. They’re established names, it’s a fantastic opportunity and a fantastic test and hopefully one we’ll thrive on.
“I feel more settled, without a doubt. You want to tick that first game off, it makes you feel part of it. I want to show the lads what I’m about, it’s hard to do that in training without the games.
“I want to show them as well as the manager the things I can do. It was a great opportunity to do that and one I enjoyed.”
Olympiakos locked horns with La Liga champions Barcelona and Serie A supremos Juventus in the Champions League group stages last season on the back of winning their seventh Super League title on the bounce.
Going to a venue like the Karaiskakis Stadium, performing on this stage against this calibre of opposition is something that Gibson has dreamed of since he was a boy.
“It’s something you dream of as a little boy, to play in an atmosphere and occasions like that. It’s going to be one we can tick off.
“It feels like a big European tie. When you get into the Europa League that’s what you want, you want the atmosphere, that is what excites you.
“It’s those tests, those stadiums and hostile places, they are the things that most of the lads here, including myself, are yet to experience and it will be fantastic to do so.
“But having said that you can only enjoy it if you’re playing well and getting the result you want, so we have to go there and get a positive result.”