Joe Gomez’s Anfield career could represent a link between the past, present and futures of Liverpool F.C. and English soccer if all goes according to plan.
After signing with Liverpool on Saturday, Gomez conducted a lengthy introductory interview with the club website in which he revealed why he chose Anfield and what he chose to achieve there. Gomez said his decision to join Liverpool, instead of other interested clubs in England and abroad, came down to the track records of both the club and manager Brendan Rodgers.
“The club has got great history and it’s a great club, and one that I’ve always been following from when I was young,” Gomez said. “The style of football and the top players here was somewhere that I wanted to go and get better and learn, and play good football. It was an easy decision.”
Rodgers’ history of giving young players opportunities in the first team and a conversation he had with Gomez helped convince the 18-year old to leave Charlton for Liverpool.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Gomez said when asked if Rodgers’ record factored into his decision. “Being a young player, I know that opportunities can be slim sometimes. But under a manager like Brendan, it speaks for itself. That’s why I was really keen to come here and play under him.
“I have met him once and he seemed really nice. It made me want to come here even more really. He just told me how good it is here and how he thinks he can help me get better, the opportunities I would get — things that would make me want to come to Liverpool.”
Gomez describes himself as a “ball-playing center back” with speed, strength and leadership qualities. Observers compare him to recently retired Manchester United and England great Rio Ferdinand, whom Gomez watched during his formative years as a player and fan. Gomez also named a pair of Liverpool’s top defenders in the new century as players who influence him.
“Definitely, he (Ferdinand) has been a great model,” Gomez said. “But just generally good defenders. Coming up in that era, Jamie Carragher and even further back, Sami Hyypia. The history here speaks for itself.”
Gomez will compete with Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and others for playing time at his preferred position but he also will devote himself to learning from them.
“They have had great careers,” Gomez said of LFC’s current crop of stoppers. “I’ll be looking at them to get tips and learn from them about defending and being a defender. I’ll just take it all on board. I’m willing to learn.”
Gomez his shined for England’s youth national teams at each level. If he fulfills his promise at Liverpool and becomes a great defender for club and country, he’ll stand as someone who was born in the Premier League era, watched English and foreign talent on a weekly basis then emulated them when presented the opportunity.
Thumbnail photo via LiverpoolFC.com