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Teenage defender speaks modestly after debut

25 August 2018

Teenage defender Lewis Gibbens has his feet planted firmly on the ground following his league debut in a 1-1 draw away to Macclesfield Town.

After boasting impressive form during pre-season, manager David Flitcroft placed trust in the youngster due to Hayden White being ruled out with a tight hamstring.

Gibbens, who looked assured in the Stags’ defence, wasn’t getting ahead of himself as he believes there is room for improvement.

“I thought I had a good game but there’s always areas for improvement,” said the 18-year-old.

“Anything can happen in football so you’ve always got to be prepared. I’d like to have thought it was going to happen, working hard every day to try and get that chance, and today it came.”

"I thought I had a good game but there’s always areas for improvement."

Lewis Gibbens, defender

Speaking about the match, he said: “It was a tough game. I thought we dominated the first-half and we probably should have seen them off but then second-half we were getting peppered at the back so when they got their chance they took it.

“He [Harry Smith] is a big lad and when you come up against big strikers and you are young you’ve just got to battle them and do what you can.”

In addition, he then cited members of Mansfield’s academy staff as the reason he has been able to improve all aspects of his game since joining the set-up.

“Scotty [Rickards, youth coach] has developed me with on-the-ball work and then John’s [Dempster, academy manager] helped me with the defending which I thought helped me a lot here today.”

“I was playing on the park with my mates when I was only 16. Then I ended up coming to Mansfield and joined up with John at the Academy so it’s all come from there, really.”

The youngster will hope to build upon this experience in Cheshire as the season progresses; perhaps maintaining his place in the starting line-up, as the Stags face West Bromwich Albion this forthcoming Tuesday.

“I’d like to try to keep my place but I understand that if you’re young in football you have to wait for your chance.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch Gibbens' interview in full by logging into later today.

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