Liverpool's Joe Gomez feels England recall 'closes chapter' on injury torment


Liverpool's Joe Gomez feels England recall 'closes chapter' on injury torment

Joe Gomez has been out of the England fold since November 2020
Joe Gomez has been out of the England fold since November 2020AFP
Liverpool defender Joe Gomez (26) said his return to the England squad for the first time in three-and-a-half years has closed the chapter on an injury-hit period of his career which took a "psychological toll."

Gomez has been rewarded for a fine season at club level with a return to the international scene just in time to potentially go to his first major tournament at Euro 2024.

It was during a session while away with England in November 2020 when Gomez injured tendons in his knee, leading to surgery and an eight-month spell on the sidelines.

"I'd be lying if I said it didn't have a psychological toll," he replied when asked Wednesday how it felt to return to the same training pitch where he suffered his injury.

"I left in an ambulance quite abruptly from the training pitch. It meant a lot to me. Just even yesterday, doing the warm-up. It was nice to feel like I could close that chapter, not to be over dramatic."

"Everyone gets injured, it is part of the game but it being so sudden, the way it happened, just leaving and never really getting the chance to come back was tough to deal with," he added.

Southgate favourite

Gomez was considered a favourite of Gareth Southgate earlier in his career, playing regularly under the England boss when he was in charge of the national Under-21 set-up.

Southgate also handed him his senior international debut in 2017 and Gomez defended Southgate after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's recent jibe about his wait for an England recall.

"Gareth has been good with me. I was with Gareth all the way through the (Under) 21s and he picked me for my debut," said Gomez.

"That was nice, to reunite with him and be back doing what I'm meant to be doing.

"Gareth's great in that sense on an individual basis, keeping in touch and speaking to the players."

During Gomez's time away from the international scene, England have developed into regular contenders for major tournament glory. Southgate's men reached their first final for 55 years at the Covid-delayed Euro 2020 and were narrowly beaten by France at the quarter-final stage of the 2022 World Cup.

A squad containing the likes of Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham is among the favourites to win the Euros in Germany later this year, and Gomez said watching the team from afar has made him even more desperate to be involved if and when England do finally end their wait for a first major tournament win since lifting the 1966 World Cup on home soil.

"Four years is quite a long time. I have probably spent a fair bit of that time wanting to be back in the mix, seeing the team do so well and having a taste of it when I was younger was special," he explained.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't spend time thinking that I wanted to be back with the boys and playing at this level. It has given me a new appreciation to be here, a different perspective now I know the flip side."

England face Brazil on Saturday and Belgium three days later at Wembley in their final friendlies before Southgate names his provisional squad for the Euros.


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