By Harvey Byrne

Everton have handed a new two-year contract to Darron Gibson, the club confirmed on Thursday.

The former Manchester United midfielder, who moved to Goodison Park in 2012 for an undisclosed fee, has penned new terms just weeks before his current deal was due to expire.

Gibson has suffered from injuries since joining the Merseyside club and managed only 12 appearances in all competitions in the 2015-16 season.

But the club, who are currently without a formal manager as they prepare to announce the arrival of Ronald Koeman from Southampton, have moved to tie the 28-year-old down to an extension.

With Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Gareth Barry all entering their twilight years in football terms, the Toffees will be keen to ensure that Gibson doesn’t suffer from any more of the long term injuries which have been plaguing him.

“I am absolutely delighted,” Gibson told the official Everton website. “I had a few options but as long as Everton were giving me the option I was never going anywhere else.

“People say, ‘Once Everton has touched you,’ and it is true. It is a great club, there are great people here and the dressing room is great, so I was never signing anywhere else.

“Obviously, I have had a tough few years but thankfully the Club have stuck by me and I have signed for another two years, so hopefully the next two years go a lot better.

“The fans are unbelievable and it is a great Club. Signing for Manchester United four-and-a-half years ago was a great move for me and I am delighted to commit my future here.

In his first full season for The Blues the Republic of Ireland international starred in 26 matches in all competitions, creating a partnership with Leon Osman in the middle and Gibson paid tribute to his first year.

“The first year I came, I had a great season but obviously the rest I have been injured quite a bit. Last year I was fit but didn’t play too much, so it is nice to know the Club and the fans are still behind me.

“There have been highs and lows. I just want to put the past behind me and look forward to the next two years.”

Gibson was named in the provisional Euro 2016 Republic of Ireland squad and despite starting in the warm-up game against Belarus, he was later dropped once the final 23-man-squad was announced.

The Derry-born man will be keen to add to his 68 Everton appearances in all competitions over the next two years.

In other Everton news, League One side Oxford want defender on loan.