27 year-old right-back Gilbert started his youth career with the Gunners in 2003. He made just over 10 appearances during his time in North London but now finds himself playing for St. Albans City in the Conference South.
During his time with the reserve and youth sides Gilbert was a mainstay in the team, and his good form allowed him to make his debut against Reading, during a League Cup tie in 2005. He subsequently went on a six-game run of appearances, which included games in the Champions League and Premier League. In the League Cup semi-final of 2006 he played a crucial part, assisting what should’ve been the winning goal for the Gunners. He ended the 05/06 campaign with plenty of experience under his belt and it looked as though Arsenal had a very promising prospect on their hands.
The following year the defender was loaned out to Championship side Cardiff. He was a regular in the side for the first-half of the campaign, but an injury meant he struggled to retain his place after Christmas. Nonetheless, he gained valuable experience whilst in Wales and was part of the squad that just missed out on the play-offs that year.
In the next two seasons, Gilbert was loaned out again, firstly in the 07/08 season to Southend and then to Leicester in the 08/09 campaign. In his time at both clubs he notched up around 50 appearances and even scored his first and only league goal to date, in a 1-1 draw with Stockport County.
For the 09/10 season he returned to Arsenal and made three starts early on in the campaign, firstly against West Brom in a 2-0 League Cup victory, then versus Liverpool in another League Cup win, before playing away for the Gunners in a Champions League tie against Olympiakos, in what was the youngest ever team to appear in the competition.
Despite this though he struggled to get any closer to the first-team and he was loaned out to Peterborough for the remainder of the season. After his contract expiry with Arsenal he joined Yeovil in League One, but despite a promising pre-season, he was let go after making only 8 league appearances. Gilbert’s next move was to link up with Shamrock in Ireland. He made 15 appearances whilst in Dublin and went on to win a cup at the end of the campaign.
Again though, his contract wasn’t renewed and after a short spell at Maidenhead, in which he didn’t make an appearance, he now plies his trade in the sixth tier of English football, with St. Albans City.
After such a fine start to his career, Gilbert eventually struggled to live up to his true potential. At 27 he still has time to get back into the football league, and if he can play consistently, few would bet against him doing so.