Kieran Gibbs removed from England squad with thigh injury

Mike Hewitt - Getty Images

A thigh injury picked up in Arsenal's defeat of West Ham will prevent Kieran Gibbs from featuring in England's World Cup qualifiers this month.

Kieran Gibbs has been one of Arsenal's better players this year, as he's shown why Arsene Wenger had enough confidence in the young Englishman to sell Gael Clichy last summer and install him as the first-choice left back. Gibbs' good play was rewarded when England manager Roy Hodgson called him up for the team's pair of World Cup qualifiers this month, and with some drama surrounding Ashley Cole, there was a fair chance that Gibbs could even get a start. Everything was coming up Kieran.

Then the West Ham game happened. Gibbs wasn't quite his usual self, though he wasn't terrible. Then suddenly in the 56th minute, Andre Santos was coming on and Gibbs was limping away dejectedly. Wenger spoke about it after the game:

He has a thigh problem just above his knee; I think he will be very doubtful for England.

He's right, evidently. Sky Sports (among others) is reporting that Gibbs has withdrawn from the squad, while according to the Guardian, Ryan Bertrand has been called up, presumably as a replacement.

This is really unfortunate for Gibbs, as it was a real opportunity to get some time in the England team and stake a claim to the left back position there. He's earned that opportunity, and surely that's a thing that's important to him as a player - who doesn't want to play for their country? Luckily for Arsenal fans, according to the London Evening Standard's James Olley, it shouldn't be a long-term issue.

Hopefully that's the case, because while I personally am fine with using Andre Santos at left back, he's not quite as good as Gibbs has been, and I'm still shell-shocked from the Great Fullback Crisis of last season. Never again.

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