Collymore’s column: Gibbs-White for England, Calvert-Lewin’s injuries are becoming a problem, Chelsea should avoid Neymar and why De Zerbi should reject any offers elsewhere

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In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including Morgan Gibbs-White’s potential England call-up, why Premier League clubs should avoid signing Neymar and Roberto De Zerbi’s managerial future, plus much more…


Morgan Gibbs-White offers something England don’t have…

I was speaking to a Nottingham Forest season ticket holder not too long ago and she said ‘it’s still early days for Morgan Gibbs-White but he looks like he’s going to go on to become special’ – and I have to agree.

In terms of England and the reports that he’s in line for an international call-up, I think it’d be a great decision.

Gibbs-White’s style of play isn’t really something England have. We’ve got a lot of technically gifted attackers, but Jack Grealish obviously operates on the wing, as does Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford, and Phil Foden hasn’t exactly set the world alight for the Three Lions, so Gibbs-White is a really good option for Gareth Southgate.

What he offers is the ability to pick the ball up in the final third and run at opposition defences. Echoing what the Forest season ticket holder said to me – admittedly, it is very early days still but even though Gibbs-White is playing in a team that are in the bottom half of the table, he looks the real deal – he’s been playing really, really well so I urge Southgate to go and watch him in person and stick him in the England squad.

For decades, England have had a major problem finding that attacking midfielder who can make things happen but I think Gibbs-White has the potential to solve that so I’d love to see him given him the opportunity to show the world what he can do.

I know some people will question why he should be ahead of Leicester’s James Maddison, but for me, it’s quite simple – they’re not the same type of player. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Maddison. He’s a good midfielder with incredible long-range passing and is great from set pieces but Gibbs-White is far more dynamic when it comes to beating players. He’s lightning in the transitional phases too and England, given their exciting wide players, needs someone who can pick the ball up and spray those quick passes in order to get others away and on the front foot. Maddison isn’t that guy but Gibbs-White is.

I’d actually have them both available to me if I was Southgate. It’d be interesting to see how they did in a midfield three with either Declan Rice or Jude Bellingham sat in behind. Remember as well – it isn’t always the obvious partnerships that prove to be the most effective.

These are worrying times for Dominic Calvert-Lewin…

There’s no denying it – Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injuries are becoming a major problem.

He’s out again after suffering another setback – this time a hamstring injury, and I fear for him because Everton and Sean Dyche can’t afford to wait on their main striker to be fit. The position they’re in now means they need someone to be fit, available and performing consistently. If he’s damaged his hamstring, there isn’t much he can do about that, but looking at his injury history, he suffers from a lot of different problems so the one thing I would say to him is ‘how many of these knocks are keeping you out and how many could you play through if you had to?’

Sometimes you’ve got to put yourself out there and be super resilient. It appears Calvert-Lewin is a player that has to be 100 per cent feeling it in order to play, that’s not ideal because sometimes, as a pro, you’ve just got to get on with it, even if you’re only 80 or 90 per cent.

He needs to stop, look in the mirror and ask himself if he’s part of the 100 per cent club, or if his string of injuries are having a knock-on effect and happening one after another. If it’s the former, just get yourself out there, but if it’s the latter then I like the approach Dyche has taken when it comes to looking into the type of bed he sleeps on and the type of car he’s driving. We often forget that simple things like these can have a huge impact on our bodies. It’s sensible for Everton to be looking into the striker’s life away from the pitch and the training ground.

Irrespective of that though – I go back to my earlier point, the Toffees can’t wait on Calvert-Lewin so unless the boy can sort his relentless injuries out, he runs the risk of being left behind.

Chelsea shouldn’t go anywhere near Neymar…

There’s always been this playboy lifestyle hanging over Neymar so if a Premier League club is really looking at him seriously, my message to them would be to be careful because it could turn out to be another Cristiano Ronaldo and Man United situation.

Neither Manchester club should take him and Chelsea, who appear to be the club most heavily-linked (90min), definitely don’t need him.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Christian Falk weighs in on ‘secret’ Chelsea meeting for Neymar

I think Neymar is a fantastic player but joining Chelsea would be an awful move in my opinion because the Blues’ project is to build for the future and if Neymar were to come to Stamford Bridge, you could just imagine much of Graham Potter’s time in front of the media would be taken up by questions on the Brazilian. That’s the last time he would need, but it’d also be the last thing any of the other players need.

Not only that, but Neymar’s antics are at times reminiscent of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and look how that one’s turned out, so just steer clear, Chelsea.

So what if Spurs like you? – Wait, Roberto De Zerbi…

I see there have been reports recently that Tottenham Hotspur are keeping a close eye on Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi (Football Insider).

When you’ve got a really good support network behind you like the one De Zerbi has at Brighton, a manager should take advantage of it and use his time to really learn his trade.

Although he’s doing brilliantly since he took over from Graham Potter, there’s still a lot of hard work ahead of him. He’s got a big challenge on his hands. He needs to make sure his Brighton squad finish the season strongly and gets into one of those European spots.

The task next season will be to compete on all four fronts while also trying to improve, or at the very least, replicate, the season before in the league, and that’s never easy.

What I will say though is, out of all the teams we’ve seen over the years break into European football, Brighton look like the team to have the best chance, so I think De Zerbi should bide his time, turn down any opportunities to jump ship quickly and instead keep doing what he’s doing because if he can succeed at Brighton, the offers will keep coming anyway so there is no need to rush.

More Stories Dominic Calvert-Lewin Morgan Gibbs White Neymar Roberto De Zerbi Stan Collymore