Young scholar showing his potential
Morgan Gibbs-White has a habit of being in the right place at the right time.
Last May the then 15-year-old turned up at the Sir Jack Hayward training ground to play for the club’s under 16’s, before being summoned to play for Rob Edwards’ under 18 squad for their match with Brighton and Hove Albion.
The surprise call up would be quite daunting for some players, but not Gibbs-White who had a debut to remember. Wolves would go on to win the match 8-0, with Gibbs-White scoring the sixth goal with a superb finish.
“I originally came to play for the 16’s but Rob Edwards said ‘Morgan, you’re with us today on the bench’,” said Gibbs-White.
“I was a bit shocked!
“I came on for the last 20 minutes and scored, so it was a great day for me.”
His dream debut brought back memories of another occasion where he was in the right place at the right time – the day he signed for Wolves after impressing watching scouts at a junior tournament.
Gibbs-White recalls: “I was playing in an under 8’s Sunday League tournament in Penkridge for Stafford Juniors.
“Bradley Carr was with me as well, and they asked us to sign there and then.”
Eight years on he has now agreed to sign his first professional contract to commit his future to the club when he turns 17.
Understandably happy with the deal, Gibbs-White, currently working with the Under-18s, has now set his sights on one day playing for the Under 21’s.
His rise through the Academy ranks and goalscoring cameos have certainly left an impression with Academy staff.
He has continued his high level of performance this season, featuring consistently for Jerry Gill’s Under-18 side as well as maintaining his eye for goal by scoring away at Everton in November and in last Saturday’s match with Leicester City.
And Gibbs-White certainly feels that he is improving game by game.
He said: “I think I am [improving] definitely; this year I’ve come on so well.
“Playing for the 18’s is a lot different than the 16’s as it’s more physical and it’s a lot quicker.
“Earlier in the season I came off the bench now and then, but more recently I’ve been starting for them [under 18’s].
“I was happy with my goal on Saturday, it was a bad touch to start with, but I ended up taking it around the goalkeeper and slotting it in.”
Playing in different positions will also help Gibbs-White in developing his game.
Traditionally a number 10, against Leicester he started off playing in an unfamiliar central midfield position while also playing part of the game as a winger.
His willingness to play in a number of positions against Leicester earned praise from Gill who described him as having a ‘good attitude and desire about his game’.
Speaking about being versatile Gibbs-White said: “I personally see myself as a number ten, but put me in a position and I’ll play there.
“When I play as a 10, I have a good awareness of what’s around me, I know the players well and I can find a pass for them.
“On Saturday, I felt that I adjusted to the positions pretty easily, I wouldn’t mind playing there again but I want to cement myself as a number 10.”
Gibbs-White is hoping to be involved with the Under 18’s in their Black Country derby with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, in a fixture that when played always contains an added spice, no matter what level.
“I’ve played in a lot of derbies before and it is going to be a tough game,” he admitted.
Saturday’s derby is the latest item on Gibbs-White’s already jam-packed 2016 calendar.
And there was some more good news today with the announcement that he has been selected in the England Under-16 squad for a forthcoming Montaigu tournament in France, involving initial group fixtures with Russia, the USA and Brazil.
Also, over the next couple of months as well as playing for Wolves and England, there is the small matter of finishing school and taking his GCSE’s.
He said: “My first exam is in the next month and a half, so I need to find the right balance between my football and school work.
“But I’m confident that if I put the revision in, I’ll come out with good grades.”