Niall Paul Gibson (born 18 November 1998 in Dungannon, Northern Ireland) is a Northern Irish professional footballer who plays for Chelsea, and formerly the Northern Irish national team. He plays as a centre back and right fullback, and also serves as Chelsea club captain.
Club career Edit
Gibson started his professional career with the academy at Dungannon Swifts in 2011. In 2015 it was announced that Gibson had transferred to English Premier League club Sunderland, for a fee of £10.75k.
Gibson made his first-team debut in 2015, starting in a Capital One Cup match for Sunderland. Shortly thereafter he was sent on loan to Football League One side Leyton Orient for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.
Leyton Orient (Loan) Edit
Gibson's loan spell with Leyton Orient could hardly be considered a success. He made 17 appearances over the course of the 2015-16 season, 8 of which were from the bench. Having failed to impress the O's coaching staff, his loan was terminated at the end of the season.
Doncaster (Loan) Edit
Sunderland negotiated a loan deal for Gibson with Football League Championship club Doncaster for the 2016-17 season. He made 25 first-team appearances, and even scored a goal, but he was sent off with a red card on two separate occasions, and was generally underwhelming during his appearances.
After a second unsuccesful loan spell, Gibson was recalled from Doncaster. Having seemingly failed to develop as expected, he made a single first-team appearance as a substitute, and was sent on loan to Leicester for the 2017-18 season, where he made only 6 first-team appearances. However, during his spell at Leicester, he made his first international appearance for Northern Ireland, in a 3-0 friendly victory over Malta. He was recalled from loan in 2018 and placed in the first team with Sunderland, where something clicked and Gibson had a fantastic season. He made 19 appearances, scoring 2 goals, and started to show the promise he had shown as a youngster. He became a regular in the Sunderland squad over the next five years, never making fewer than thirty appearances each season. During the winter 2024 transfer window, it was announced that Gibson had transferred to fellow Premier League club Chelsea for a fee of £14.25 million.
Gibson continued his consistent run of form at Chelsea, making 16 appearances in the second half of the 2023-24 season and continuing to make thirty or more appearances every season. In 2026, newly-arrived manager Dinsdale Piranha appointed Gibson as club captain, replacing the aging Romelu Lukaku, with Marquinhos stepping up as vice-captain. At the recommendation of Piranha, Gibson decided to retire from the Northern Irish national team in July 2028 in order to stay fit for club matches. Additionally, with his advancing age and slowly declining form, there are rumours (albeit unsubstantiated) around the club that Gibson will be removed as captain, and may even leave the club altogether. The appointment of star striker Benoit Lelievre as vice-captain, and the club's purchase of Chilean centre-back Ronald Tarrillo coupled with the rapid development of youngster Reece Reed, have served only to fuel these rumours; though both Gibson and Piranha have refused to be drawn into a discussion about them.
International career Edit
Gibson made his international debut for Northern Ireland while on loan at Leicester, in a 3-0 friendly victory over Malta on 27 March 2018. His first international goal came against Faroe Islands on 9 October 2020. He went on to earn 78 caps for his country, scoring 5 goals. He retired from international soccer on 9 July 2028, citing fitness concerns in an attempt to prolong his club career.
Career statistics Edit
As of 24 May 2032
Club Statistics Edit
|Leyton Orient (Loan)||2015-16||Football League One||17||0||0||0||0||0||17||0|
|Doncaster (Loan)||2016-17||Football League Championship||22||1||3||0||0||0||25||1|
|Leicester (Loan)||2017-18||Football League Championship||6||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
International Statistics Edit
English Premier League: 2026, 2027, 2029, 2030, 2032
English FA Cup: 2028, 2031, 2032
Capital One Cup: 2027, 2032 (Runners-up 2030)
English Community Shield: 2026, 2031 (Runners-up 2028, 2029, 2030)
UEFA Champions League: 2028, 2030, 2031, 2032
UEFA Super Cup: 2031 (Runners-up 2028, 2030)
FIFA Club World Cup: 2030, 2031 (Runners-up 2028)