The media have cottoned on to the fact that Gibson has a foot like a traction engine – and now seem obsessed with it. Gibson’s passing range has improved immensely, but a natural ability to strike the ball sweetly from distance remains his biggest weapon.

Appearances/goals: Premier League 6(9)/2; Champions League 3(1)/1; Carling Cup 2(1)/2; FA Cup 1/0. Total: 12(11)/5

Season soundbite: "Darron’s training has been excellent. He knows every session is worthwhile. You can’t hold young players back, and he has become a very good, powerful midfielder." – Sir Alex Ferguson

In a word: Burgeoning
08/06/2010 08:00, Report by James Tuck
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Player review: Gibson

Irish midfielder Darron Gibson enjoyed his most productive season yet in 2009/10...

Story of the season
Buoyed by the new three-year deal he signed in pre-season, Gibson made a couple of early-season substitute appearances in the league, plus outings in the Carling Cup and Champions League. Then a defensive injury crisis for United at West Ham in December allowed Gibson to make his first Premier League start of the campaign – and he took full advantage by driving home the game-clinching second goal. Energetic and increasingly assured, Gibson’s passing and positional game noticeably developed season as he gained more top-level experience. By the end of it he’d become more than just an understudy to the likes of Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes; he was a bona fide contender to start or a useful option to bring off the bench if United needed a goal. Throw in the retention of the Carling Cup, another league goal at Bolton and an excellent first Champions League strike against Bayern Munich, and it’s been a watershed year for the Irishman.

Finest moment
That crackerjack at Upton Park, which helped United romp to a 4-0 win. On the hour mark in east London, Gibson ran onto a Ryan Giggs lay-off to crash a 20-yarder past Robert Green. The

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Premier League