Alex Gilbey has been backed to deliver for Charlton Athletic next season – provided the system suits him.
That is the verdict of Conor Washington, who made the move to SE7 at the same time as the former Milton Keynes midfielder in August 2020.
Gilbey is heading into the final year of his contract with the South London club and has scored five goals in 50 starts. The 27-year-old was a back-to-back winner of MK’s Player of the Year award before signing for the Addicks.
He was badly affected by Covid at the start of the last campaign and did not make a first-team appearance until September 21.
“It’s hard to get back in the team when you’re coming back from that,” said Washington, who has signed for Rotherham after being released by Charlton last month.
“I don’t think there are any doubts on his ability or anything like that. He’s one of the best midfielders in League One.
“If you put all of his game together over a consistent period of time then he is a Championship footballer, there’s no two ways about that.
“He’s a very specific type of midfielder who likes to run beyond, which is unusual – but it’s his biggest asset.
“I’ve been saying to him for the last 18 months to two years, you just need to bump the numbers up and get more assists and goals. Ultimately data is what it is, but if you’re a midfielder getting double figures in goals or assists then you’re getting moves to the level above.
“It’s about a consistent run in a team that is set up for him.
“That’s probably my biggest takeaway from football, up until this period. You have to play in a system that suits you.
“If you’ve got a certain set of attributes it is all well and good saying you’ve got to fit into a team system, of course it is, but if you’re being asked to do things that aren’t natural to you then your performances are going to suffer.
“Just from speaking to Gilbs over the last couple of weeks I know that he is fit, strong and chomping at the bit. I think he’s learned a lot of lessons over the last two seasons that will stand him in good stead this year.”
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