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In focus: Alex Gilbey looks at the career so far of Deadline Day recruit Alex Gilbey...

31 August 2017

Gilbey grew up in Essex and began his football career with hometown club Colchester United.

Gilbey grew up in Essex and began his football career with hometown club Colchester United.

A captain of the Under-18s at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, he signed his first professional deal with the U’s in February 2012.

Gilbey made his senior debut later that calendar year, featuring off the bench in an EFL Trophy tie away at Northampton Town. That appearance was one of four first-team game he played for the U’s before the New Year, including his first career start on Boxing Day against Brentford.

In March 2013, the midfielder joined then-Conference outfit Newport County on loan and he played a key role in the Exiles’ promotion to the EFL.

Gilbey put in a man-of-the-match display in the second leg of the play-off semi final against Grimsby Town and also provided the assist for the only goal in that match. He then played the full 90 minutes in the final at Wembley Stadium, helping County to a 2-0 win over Wrexham.

The-then 19-year-old returned to Essex full of confidence and a strong start to the 2013/14 campaign saw him establish a place in the U’s first XI. His performances caught the attention of a number of higher-level clubs which promoted Colchester to tie the midfielder down to a long-term contract.

Gilbey finished the 2013/14 season with 39 appearances to his name and his first career goal – a header away at soon-to-be champions Wolverhampton Wanderers in March. He was named United’s Young Player of the Season after an impressive breakout campaign.

The 2014/15 campaign saw Gilbey play a further 36 games for the U’s, while he also netted twice – both of which were impressive strikes, including a terrific solo goal in the Emirates FA Cup.

Gilbey built on a strong two seasons by enjoying his most fruitful campaign to date. The midfielder, who captained the U’s on nine occasions, scored five goals in 42 games while he also took home the Player of the Year honour at United’s Awards night.

His excellent form in Essex saw Gilbey draw interest from a number of Championship clubs as a free agent in summer 2016, including Wigan Athletic who he eventually signed for in June.

Gilbey scored on his Latics debut on the opening day of the 2016/17 season and played regularly for the Greater Manchester club until an injury sidelined him until the New Year. He returned to the team in February and scored one goal in seven outings.

The midfielder was an unused substitute in Wigan’s opening-day win over the Dons at the start of the current campaign but returned to the line-up for the Carabao Cup win over Blackpool.

So far this season he has made five appearances and scored one goal – totals he’ll be looking to add to during his time at Stadium MK.

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