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Interviews

Gibbs relishing new role

15 October 2018

KIERAN Gibbs is having to learn on the job as he adapts to an unfamiliar position.

Having spent his career to date as a traditional left-back for Arsenal and England, Kieran shifted to left-sided wing-back as Darren Moore began to adapt Albion's playing style at the start of the season.

For a 29-year-old, changing your game can't be easy. But 'Gibbo' says the Baggies' expansive approach has made things easier.

"It's tough," Kieran nodded.

"I'm 29 now so I'm not going to change my game too drastically. But I've obviously been quite effective at wing-back so far this season. I'm relishing it.

"I think the way we play, the way we control quite a lot of our games, it can be useful because you can be the spare man.

"If we can bring the ball up the pitch and sustain possession quite high then it can be effective.

"We've got such a dangerous frontline that you need to get up and help support them, give them service. Now, especially with the front players, attacking has become a more critical part of the game in those positions.

"You need to contribute both ways. It takes a lot of concentration for 90 minutes but I'm enjoying it."

It's certainly been a high-intensity start to the season for Kieran and his team-mates. Since August Darren Moore's men have contested 15 first-team fixtures, including seven in just under four weeks since September 14.

He admitted: "It can take you a while to get into the swing of it as it's quite demanding physically.

"I spoke with the manager before the season started and went through what was a realistic target.

"As long as I'm managed the right way off the pitch during recovery - the physios have been great with me so far - I'll keep in shape and keep in that zone."

This relentless nature of the Sky Bet Championship puts greater emphasis on the Baggies' squad depth. And when it comes to playing LWB, Kieran's not the only one adapting. Summer-signing Conor Townsend is also getting to grips with a foreign berth.

Kieran added: "Conor's learning well. He's a really enthusiastic kid and wants to learn a lot.

"He asks me every now and then about different situations in the game and stuff like that. I'm trying to help him as best I can just from what I'm learning as well.

"I'm trying to pass on as much information as I can for when he is needed. It's a long season and he could be needed at any point - a situation I've also been in before."


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