Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has said that he does what to talk about the situation regarding defender Ben Gibson, insisting that the 27-year-old is still a Burnley player.
It was revealed earlier this week that Gibson is once again training with former club ‘Boro, after failing to secure a move away from Burnley during the January transfer window, with the Championship side one club who had been linked with a move for the defender last month.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Luton to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Woodgate was inevitably asked about the situation regarding Gibson, with the ‘Boro boss quoted by the Teesside Gazette as simply saying: “Ben is training at Rockliffe and he’s a Burnley player.
“I want to talk about Middlesbrough, he’s not our player.”
A graduate of ‘Boro’s academy, Gibson made 203 senior appearances for the club before joining Burnley for a joint-club record fee of £15million in the summer of 2018.
Since then, the defender has made just seven appearances for Sean Dyche’s side, with that desire for regular game time apparently prompting his search for a move elsewhere in the January window.
There are currently two-and-a-half years remaining on Gibson’s contract with Burnley, securing his future at Turf Moor until the end of the 2021/22 season.
This is probably a smart approach for Woodgate to take.
It does seem as though the situation with regards to Gibson is far from certain right now, so it could be a risk for the ‘Boro boss to make too any definitive claims here.
Indeed, if he was to do that, it is possible that they would not go down too well over at Burnley, and they will not want to do that at the minute, given Gibson’s future could once again be up in the summer.
Middlesbrough currently look to be in a potentially strong position to take advantage of that, and Woodgate will not want to say anything that could change that standing.