Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is determined to prove to England fans that he is worthy of receiving his first England call up for this weekend’s friendlies.
Gareth Southgate started many discussions after announcing his squad as England start off their World Cup preparations with two Wembley fixtures against Germany and Brazil.
With surprise omissions including Gomez’s Liverpool teammates Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as well as Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, made way for new inclusions Gomez, Crystal Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Swansea’s Tammy Abraham to receive their first call ups to the squad.
Gomez, who was also recently appointed the England Under-21s captain by manager Aidy Boothroyd, said during a press conference: “It has obviously been a dream of mine since I was kid to represent my country at senior level.
“It was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting the call-up, but it was great news for me and my family and all those close to me. It’s a dream come true, really.”
Despite Liverpool’s defence as a whole being criticised as being inconsistent, Gomez’s performances have been impressive.
“I just have to be confident with myself,” he continued, “I think it’s a balance of knowing my ability but also trying to learn. I have to look ahead towards the future and I still understand that I am a young player and I’ve got a lot to learn.”
Gomez has returned strongly this season and Southgate intends to try the defender in a three-man defence, despite him being utilised as a full-back by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp this season.
“I am just thankful for the opportunity and the chance to be within this set-up because I know it is something that can’t be taken for granted, being picked for your senior side. I know how many years and how many people try to get this opportunity. I am thankful to be here.”
Gomez already has a working relationship with Southgate from the England manager’s time in charge of the Under-21s.
The defender was with the Young Lions squad when he sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2015, side-lining him for 15 months and ending his 2015-16 campaign after only three appearances for Liverpool last season.
“I mean, it has been good for me to get the games so far this season and I am enjoying just playing regular football,” the former Charlton Athletic defender said.
“It has been at full-back, which is one of a couple of positions that I like to play. It has been good. We have an attacking style of play, a pressing style of play. Obviously with the attacking presence in the team, sometimes I’ll play a more defensive role.
“But I am just looking to try and focus on my role here, whatever that is, and try and learn from Gareth and all the coaches here and adapt to playing their style of football.”