Premier League

Kieran Gibbs looks to be on Capello's WC radar

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LONDON (AP)

Kieran Gibbs could be about to follow Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott in going from Premier League nobody to World Cup squad member. Gibbs, a left back who has played only four times for Arsenal this season, is a 20-year-old Englishman who drew an important observer to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday: England coach Fabio Capello. With the Italian looking on, Gibbs was involved in one of the goals scored by Arsenal in the team's 2-1 win over Liverpool in the League Cup. He also kept both Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt in check throughout the match. "Kieran was very good tonight," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "If Capello asks my opinion, he'll get a very positive one." Three years ago, then-England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson somewhat surprisingly picked Walcott for the World Cup team that went to Germany. Walcott, who was 17 at the time, had never even played for Arsenal in the Premier League. Gibbs at least has already made two appearances in the league for the Gunners this season, enough for Wenger to say that the young defender has a World Cup future in South Africa next year. "I believe he is ready," the Frenchman said. Gibbs began his career with Wimbledon but he moved to Arsenal when the south London club's academy disbanded. He signed his first professional contract with the Gunners in 2007 and made his first-team debut for Arsenal against Sheffield United in the League Cup in October of that year. Despite his lack of playing time this season, Gibbs had an extended run toward the end of last season after Gael Clichy picked up a back injury. He made 21 appearances in all competitions, including four in the Champions League. But Gibbs is still developing, and he made an untimely slip early in the second leg of last season's Champions League semifinals against Manchester United, allowing Park Ji-sung to score in a match that the Gunners lost 3-1. At the under-21 level, Gibbs made 12 appearances and scored three goals for England. But he will find it difficult to play ahead of England left backs Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge in the senior team. At Emirates, Capello was sitting next to under-21 coach Stuart Pearce, a former England defender.

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