Liverpool youngster Joe Gomez has spoken of his delight at remaining at Anfield this season, rather than going out to play on loan.
After being out with injury for over a year, the 20-year old returned last January, but only saw scant playing time. This summer, he was widely expected to be sent out on loan. However, to his delight, manager Jürgen Klopp instead asked him to stay at the club and fight for a place in the starting lineup.
Gomez's happiness with the move - which has since seen him already start twice this season - was evident when he spoke to the Liverpool Echo:
"Naturally, a loan was going to be an option this summer. Everyone saw that I didn't get many games last season but I said in preseason I wanted to fight. There's nothing I'd rather do more than play for Liverpool...when the manager said he wanted me to stick around and challenge that was great to hear because it's what I wanted too."
Gomez's impressive play to start the season recently saw him named captain of the England U21 side. A versatile defender able to play multiple positions at the back, he has filled in well for a Liverpool side missing starting right-back Nathaniel Clyne due to injury.
The young Liverpool star also spoke to the Echo about how the injury had changed his perspective on football overall:
"Before, when I was out there doing it, I didn't think about it so much. But when you get a bad injury and it's taken away, you really realise what you hand. When you're out injured, you have a lot of time to think. There was a lot of time when I was sat there reminiscing.
"Those memories gave me the hunger and desire to get back. That's what really drove me."