Morgan Gibbs-White basking in the limelight with Gareth Southgate keeping an eye on him

  • The 23-year-old is enjoying the limelight amid strong performances for his club.
  • Morgan Gibbs-White has been one of Nottingham Forest’s standout players
  • The England under-21 team sat down to watch the senior team beat Italy in Naples

Inside the St George’s Park hotel on Thursday night, the impressionable Under 21s were watching England make history.

They always sit together for senior games when the schedule allows, with the subliminal message that reaching that group is eminently achievable.

Some are closer to that goal than others. Some have another Under-21 cycle ahead of them after the Eurocup this summer, others are coming to an end. Morgan Gibbs-White is now 23, born within 27 days of this campaign closing, but there’s a growing sense that senior recognition is nigh.

He will captain Lee Carsley’s side against France in Leicester on Saturday and these are key moments to impress Gareth Southgate, who named him earlier this week. Assistant Steve Holland has already traveled to observe Nottingham Forest training and Gibbs-White manager Steve Cooper is working on turning him into an international midfielder.

“Like two or three of the players (here), he’s in a strong position,” Carsley said. ‘He just needs to move on. The more assists he gets, the more goals he scores gives him a stronger chance.”

Morgan Gibbs-White will captain England under-21s against France in Leicester on Saturday
He has been thriving for Nottingham Forest so far this season, fueling their drive for survival.

Carsley hasn’t seen the players since September, a huge void in preparation for a big tournament, but he has noticed significant growth in certain members of his team. Gibbs-White’s experiences at Forest, becoming the most creative medium alongside Brennan Johnson, have catapulted his possibilities.

The tattoo on his hand, which reads ‘why save the good stuff for later’, feels symbolic after making the permanent leap away from Wolves. That price tag, £25m, is something he relished, feeling he has since proven the naysayers wrong. And so came Southgate talking about his chances of taking the next leap.

“It’s a nice feeling, it means you’re doing the right things,” Gibbs-White said. ‘My main goal is the Under 21 right now, we have a big tournament in the summer. And then the shape of my club: I need to focus on that.

‘It’s an honor that I’ve even been mentioned and it shows that I’m improving in the right way. I have to push myself for more. I could play for Jamaica, but I’ve been with England since the Under 16s and it’s a dream of mine to play for the seniors one day.

Gibbs-White is one of the winners of the Under-17 World Cup six years ago, scoring in the final against Spain. Cooper was also her manager at the time and sat down with him before Qatar. “We look at my stats,” Gibbs-White said. ‘I wasn’t up to par with others in the Premier League.

Gareth Southgate has made it clear that he is aware of the winger for a future call-up

‘We have been working day in and day out on the training ground to improve those areas. We sat back down a few weeks ago and my stats were on par with some of the best players.

The bond is strong, those experiences with the Sub 17 are destined to unite. Gibbs-White remains close to some of them, but Phil Foden in particular. “I am the godfather of his children,” she revealed. They have two beautiful and funny children.

‘We just had a good connection. I met him at 16, we just got along. Our girlfriends are close. We spend a lot of time together. He’s always been a good boy, Phil. Incredible player. He played Fortnite until one or two in the morning every night! Each night. He would say that if he scores tomorrow, he could keep it up for another couple of hours.

Gibbs-White expects the two to trade again soon, though he knows there’s more work to be done.


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