The England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce believes there is more to come from Kieran Gibbs for both club and country this season.
The Arsenal youngster was deployed on the left side of midfield for the 1-0 win over Portugal at Wembley on Saturday, which kept England on course to qualify for the 2011 European Championships.
Gibbs is used at left-back by the Gunners manager Arsène Wenger and is set for another extended run in the first team following an injury to Gaël Clichy.
England manager Fabio Capello indicated the 20-year-old is one player he intends to keep a close eye on as he finalises his squad for the World Cup next summer. And Pearce firmly believes Gibbs will learn from his latest Wembley experience.
"He played his part, but I think he can play better," said Pearce. "There is more to come from Kieran and we will get more out of him on Tuesday in Lithuania, if selected.
"Kieran has played midfield before, although I think his best position is at left-back. Ryan Bertrand has done outstandingly well for Reading recently and it was really that form which forced him into the team and enabled me to juggle Gibbsy a bit and put him into midfield. Kieran is a very athletic, clever player, good on the ball. Having one or two who can play in different positions strengthens the squad."
The Tottenham Hotspur youngster Danny Rose netted his first goal for the Under-21s when he got on the end of a knockdown by Andy Carroll just before the break, which proved enough for victory in front of a crowd of 34,000.
England are now three points behind Group Nine leaders Greece, on whom they have a game in hand, ahead of next week's trip to Lithuania.
England U-21: Loach; Richards, Mancienne (Naughton, 76), Smalling, Bertrand; Cleverley, Delph (Gosling, 90), Muamba, Gibbs; Rose (Cork, 76), Carroll. Substitutes not used: Fielding, Lansbury, Sturridge, Hines.
Portugal U-21: Ventura, Faria, Daniel Carrico, Miguel Vitor, Pedro Moreira, Rui Pedro (Joao Aurelio, 78), Bruno Pereirinha, Adrien Silva (Castro, 60), Yazalde, Ukra, Fredy (Tiago Cintra, 57). Substitutes not used: Silva, Andre Pinto, Rabiola, Andre Santos.
Referee: T Kinhofer (Germany).Reuse content