Gibson aims to seize chance
Darron Gibson reckons the time has come to make his impact on the international stage with the Republic of Ireland.
The 26-year-old Everton midfielder returns to the Ireland set-up for Wednesday's friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium.
On his last appearance at the venue Gibson suffered the cruciate ligament injury which has sidelined him for much of the intervening period.
Injuries and Gibson's disenchantment with former manager Giovanni Trapattoni have limited his senior international career to 21 caps, and he knows his latest opportunity under current boss Martin O'Neill is one he cannot afford to pass up.
Gibson said: "Being out for 10 months last season gave me a lot of time to think about things, and I think this is now or never, really, to be honest with you, so I am looking forward to the task ahead.
"It just made me realise that I'm not getting any younger. I need to start playing games and I need to start doing well for myself. It's a big opportunity for me."
Gibson travelled to the Euro 2012 finals, but did not taste a single minute of action in Poland and Ukraine, and his response was to reluctantly make himself unavailable to his country.
When he decided to return to the international arena, Gibson collapsed in agony during the first half of Ireland's 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Kazakhstan and was carried from the field on a stretcher.
As a result, he is eager to make up for lost time when Ireland's European Qualifiers get under way in Georgia on Sunday.
Gibson said: "It was the second game back, wasn't it? It was tough for me, I was devastated when I did it. But the staff and players at Everton helped me through it.
"Being out for 10 months is tough. The hardest thing was going every week to Goodison and watching the lads knowing I should have been playing, and there was not really much I could do about it.
"But the physios are good there and the staff are good, and they helped me through it.
"It is very hard. You want to be playing and training every day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of months, I got round the idea that it was a long-term injury and I just got my head down and focused on getting through it, and thankfully I've come out the other end."