It seems City boss Glenn Roeder isn't the only one determined not to let the retiring Dion Dublin down over the next potentially fraught, few weeks.
For just as the Canary manager was telling supporters last night that he had urged the players to look into the 38-year-old's eyes and vow not to let his final season in professional football end on a nightmare note, so one young man 20 years his junior was busily telling his full-time employers just what a big influence Dublin is.
“You look at players like Dion Dublin and I cannot imagine how he is still going,” the on-loan Gunners starlet told www.arsenal.com today. Somehow you sense Dion is one of the last of a dying breed.
For the likes of Gibbs, Ryan Bertrand and Ched Evans, who needs to work when you're 38? Not if the three fulfil all their teenage potential. And with it their bank accounts to over-flowing.
In fairness to all three, for now their feet appear to be rooted to the floor. And Gibbs appears more than willing to listen to advice. And the right kind of advice too as Dublin's own 20-year professional career nears the final curtain.
“His knowledge of the game is superb. He is always talking to us about how to approach the games and what to expect from the different environments we will play in. He has certainly hoped me a lot.”
The England Under-18 midfielder enjoyed his best moment yet in a Canary shirt midway through the first-half at Bramall Lane as he turned away into space, slipped smoothly up through the gears as he bore down on the United box before sweeping a 20-yard effort into the back stanchion; little more than a foot wide of Paddy Kenny's left-hand upright.
Given the surface and the opposition, it might be nice to think that was the sign of a young man starting to find his Championship feet. It is an altogether different beast to the one he will graduate to. Look at Roeder's clutch of loan signings and you can't help but wonder whether Bertrand's experiences at Oldham Athletic and Alex Pearce's previous stints at first Northampton and then Bournemouth might have helped them to acclimatise better to the unique demands of second tier football.
Like playing Watford away on a Tuesday night.
“I have only played in four games now but I have enjoyed it,” Gibbs told Arsenal's official website, as they caught up with one of Arsene Wenger's hotter little properties; one suddenly given the chance to step up into the full-time spotlight after his brief forays into Arsenal's Carling Cup first team.
“It's great for me to be training day in day out with a first team,” said the 18-year-old. “Then there is the travelling home and away which has been good for me too.
“I wouldn't say it has been easy to adapt to up here, but is a challenge I am happy to take on. On the football side of things is a bit different and for that it has been good for me.”
What was interesting was who gave the Norwich loan experience the 'Thumbs up!' – one-time fellow Arsenal midfield starlet David Bentley whose spell at Carrow Road will probably be best remembered for his 'Ave it!' antics on the training ground and that final, infamous afternoon at Fulham where the flip-side of loan players came to the fore.
Bentley knew that he wouldn't be following City on their downward travels that summer; the question always lingers as to how much his heart was in saving the Canaries that day.
“It [a loan move] was put to me at the beginning of January,” Gibbs told Arsenal.com, as he ran over his arrival in Norfolk once more. The Gunners' Carling Cup painful semi-final defeat to the neighbours helped booked his ticket up the A11.
“At the time we were still in the Youth Cup and the Carling Cup so we wanted to wait to see how both of those panned out. Then, of course, the defeat at Spurs happened and the Academy side were beaten by Liverpool. It was the day after that that I left for Norwich.”
At which point the Bentley factor had already kicked in – that and Roeder's own long-standing friendship with Arsene Wenger. There was always a sense that he was on a promise; something that may yet be in the air again this summer.
“I think it is the best place for me to go because I know David Bentley had a good time of it at Norwich and it is a good club. A few other clubs had been mentioned but Norwich was recommended to me and I was happy to go with it.”
It is, he admitted, a world away from his London roots.
“It is also a lot quieter up here,” he admitted. “I wouldn't say I am a country boy so I am not used to the quiet life. I am staying in a country club hotel with three other players so that has been fine.”
And all the time he is learning about life on the front-line. Clearly that education will, ultimately, be to Arsenal's benefit as they test the young man's physical resolve in the heat of what now looks set to be a Championship relegation battle; certainly Saturday's home clash with Colchester United fits that particular bill.
“I have learnt how intense it is paying at a professional level,” he said. “The amount of games you have, you don't realise it until you are at that level that you have to look after yourself properly.
“Playing in the Reserves at Arsenal, there are one or two games per month so you have a lot of time to recover. Here you can often have just a couple of days so you have to know how to recover properly and effectively.”
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