Kieran Gibbs is Ashley Cole's successor for England - Kenny Sansom

Micah Richards still has some way to go, says legendary full-back
Arsenal and England legend Kenny Sansom believes young Kieran Gibbs will eventually become the first-choice left-back for the country.

But the 52-year-old insists that the Gunner will have to wait for another "two or three years" before edging Ashley Cole out of the starting line-up.

In the meantime, however, Sansom believes that this will give enough time for the 21-year-old to hone his skills.

"Kieran has all the raw materials, and all the attributes, to become a top-class England full-back - but I can’t see him taking over from Ashley Cole for another two or three years," he said, according to The Mirror.

"There is no point in moving Cole aside while he is at the top of his game, and Kieran still has to go through the same learning process that Ashley went through at a similar age with Arsenal.

"I played in a team with Graham Rix in front of me - he liked to drift inside and left space for me to get forward in wide positions, and I’m confident Kieran would fit into an England team set up like that tomorrow.

"But he would have to adjust, and curb his instincts to get forward, if he was playing behind an out-and-out left winger, so he has to keep learning his craft - and he couldn’t wish for a better place to learn it than Arsenal."

Switching from one full-back position to another, Sansom added: "I felt Glen Johnson stopped learning when he went to Chelsea, and it was only when he joined Portsmouth, and Harry Redknapp told him 'You aren’t the finished article yet, son', that we saw the best of him.

"Micah Richards is another one who is probably going through the same process now. He was unbelievable when he broke into the England set-up three years ago, but he’s had to take stock and hopefully he is ready to push on again."

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