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EVERTON FC midfielder Darron Gibson has revealed how Twitter once gave him sleepless nights – but he was never bullied off the social network site.
The Republic of Ireland international made headlines in April 2011 while still at Manchester United, when he opened an account on the site but deactivated it two hours later after reportedly receiving negative comments from critical United supporters.
Gibson, 25, moved to Everton in January 2012 and was persuaded to reopen his Twitter page by Goodison team-mates, but he insists it was not sensitivity which made him quit in the first place – just the volume of e-mail updates to his mobile phone.
He said: “The first time I was on I didn’t get bullied off like everyone thinks I did. Basically what happened was I’d set up the account before we flew off to go to a Champions League game in Germany then turned my phone off.
“When we landed I had like 30,000 followers and all the e-mails were coming through to my phone.
“I didn’t know you could go on a computer and switch that off so basically I tried to go to sleep and my phone kept buzzing. I deleted my account and that was it.
“The lads persuaded me to come back on when I joined Everton and the fans have been great to be fair.
“I’ve not had any hassle or anything so I’m enjoying being on it,it’s a good laugh.”
Gibson believes the site helps give supporters an insight into the lifestyle of the players they follow. “I think it gives a small insight into what footballers do,” he said, in an interview with Everton TV.
“Maybe in the past they didn’t have a clue what they were doing.
“In a way it shows how hard footballers work and how professional they are so, in a way I think it’s good. Sometimes I find myself flicking through constantly and my missus doesn’t like it too much.”
Gibson, who was one of the Blues’ star performers in their last outing against Manchester City, says the camaraderie in the Everton dressing room is superb – but he also keeps an eye out for another club.
“I’ve started following Stevenage in League One because one of my best mates who I was at United with plays for them,” he said. “There’s not much of it on TV but I try and follow it as much as I can.”
The Derry-born player also insisted team-mate Leighton Baines’s trend-setting music taste is certainly not music to his ears.
“Bainsey has got a few strange bands in his locker,” he said. “I’d probably put him in there as having the worst taste in music.”
EVERTON FC captain Phil Neville admits he would be prepared to drop out of the Premier League to extend his playing career.
The Blues skipper is at a professional crossroads in the summer, when his current one-year rolling deal at Everton expires with no fresh terms currently on the agenda.
Neville, 36, has already accepted an England Under-21 coaching role for June’s European Championships in Israel, and has previously said he will review whether he feels fit enough to carry on playing in the top flight for the Toffees when the current season has ended.
The former Manchester United and England veteran is already a UEFA qualified coach, and while he would also consider managing a smaller club in the manner of former Netherlands star Edgar Davids, who took over as player manager at League Two side Barnet last year, he insists he would like to emulate the Dutchman by retaining a playing remit as well.
He said: “Yeah I think it’s important.
“For me I want to continue playing as long as possible so I’m not embarrassed to go down the leagues.
“I think you can still have as much fun playing in the lower leagues as you can in the Premier League.
“I think it’d be good for your experience to coach and manage down there, to go through the types of things that Edgar Davids is going through at the moment because he’s been used to the best things in life and now he’s got to really coach.
“He won’t have 20 balls, he’ll probably have five or six, he won’t have many cones, they’ll be training on a park pitch where there’s maybe dogs running across the training pitch and this is where he’ll have to learn his trade again.”
EVERTON won’t give up on a top four finish despite the lengthening odds against them, insists Steve Round.
The Blues assistant manager believes optimism is key to keeping the club’s ambitions alive with just nine games of the Premier League season remaining.
Everton face a difficult run-in with testing away trips to Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea in store – but Round said: “We’ve still got an opportunity to finish in the top four. It might be a distant opportunity, but while it is there we have to go for it.
“That’s been our goal all season and we mustn’t give up on it.”
Round was inspired by the way Moyes rallied his troops ahead of the 2-0 win over Manchester City 10 days ago.
“It’s for the leaders of the organisation to lift the players, first and foremost, and that starts with the manager – who was absolutely magnificent during the week leading up to the match against Man City,” he said.
“He really showed what a top manager he was that week. He led the players and made sure they were picked up.”
DAVID Weir is staying with Everton's coaching staff - after turning down the manager's job at Falkirk.