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Five things to know about Boro's Ben Gibson, England's new recruit

The FC crew discuss where the bar is set for England's expectations in the 2018 Russia World Cup.

After a few seasons starring in the Championship and being part of the impressive back four that helped propel Middlesbrough back to the Premier League in 2016, Ben Gibson has won his first call-up to the England squad. 

The battling centre-back is one of Boro's greatest assets and attracted the attention of Chelsea back in the January transfer window, but what else should you know about the man?

1. He's the nephew of the Boro chairman

One of the most notable things about Gibson is that his uncle, Steve Gibson, is Middlesbrough's esteemed chairman, lauded by some as one of the best chairmen in football.

From building the Riverside Stadium, seeing the club win their first major trophy in 2004's Carling Cup and making it to the Europa League final in 2005, the Gibson family are Boro through and through.

2. He learned his craft at Marton Juniors

The youth team, in a leafy Middlesbrough suburb, have an excellent record for rearing young talent and have sent more than 60 professional footballers into the game. Jonathan Woodgate, Stewart Downing and Lee Cattermole started here, just like Gibson, and each got a great grounding.

Centre-back Ben Gibson has earned his first call-up to the England squad at age 24.

3. He wore his Boro shirt on a night out after promotion last season

Gibbo lost his clothes in the melee of champagne and celebrations, so he hit the bars and clubs of Middlesbrough in the famous red and white shirt. We're sure he didn't have to buy a single drink all night.

4. He has improved under the tutelage of ex-defenders

Gibson gained his first-team debut under Tony Mowbray in Boro's 2010-11 Championship campaign and settled in as a regular under former coach Aitor Karanka, who was sacked earlier this month. Both managers cut their teeth as central defenders so were well-placed to bring through Gibson's burgeoning talent. Gibson was one of the ever-present names on Karanka's teamsheets as Boro gained promotion with the tightest defence in the Football League last term.

5. He has tasted international success before

Gibson played a starring role in the England Under-21 side a few years back, reaching the final of the European Championships while working with new England manager Gareth Southgate. As Southgate has been in Gibson's shoes before, both as centre-back and occasional captain at Middlesbrough, it's no surprise he has recognised the Teessider's talent. After underwhelming performances from the likes of John Stones and now injury to Chris Smalling, "Gibbo" will look to step up and cement his place as part of the fresh young blood in the England side.

Catherine Wilson ESPN FC's Middlesbrough blogger. You can follow her on Twitter: @Basslady

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