By 90Min
March 25, 2018

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has insisted that he sees the arrival of Dutch centre back Virgil Van Dijk as an opportunity to learn, rather than a blockade in furthering his first team experience. 

Speaking to Sky Sports, Gomez spoke on Van Dijk's impact on the club, saying: "I didn't see it as blocking my path or anything like that. It's a great opportunity to learn from him.

"I am not overly stressing about it or paranoid about other people coming in. It's great to be in environments where I can learn from players like that. I am just trying to soak it all up and be the best sponge I can be.

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"I think he has a great presence, everyone sees that. He is very dominant in the way he plays and his body language shows that he has quality on the ball."

Gomez was also asked to compare teammate Mohamed Salah with PSG star Neymar, having kept a clean sheet when facing the Brazilian in his first appearance for England. He admitted: "I'm not sure [who is better], they're both world class.

"They're both incredible players and it's a pleasure for me to come up against such talent. It has to be a balance of respecting the ability but also understanding that he's your opponent and you can't be in awe of him, otherwise that might not do you any good.

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"I try to learn as much as I can about each opponent and study their threats."

The 20-year-old is now aiming to force his way into the England World Cup squad after his impressive performances at Anfield this season. This would prove to be an amazing comeback considering he turned down the opportunity to play in England's Under-21 European Championship last year, instead choosing to focus on building up his fitness.

Gomez spoke about this decision, praising the support of Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd: "It was a very tough decision to make, probably one of the hardest decisions of my career.

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"I didn't want to just not turn up or fake an injury, I made sure I sat down with Aidy and talked it through. It was me and him, no one else.

"I wanted to make it clear that I loved playing for my country. There were a few sleepless nights - I didn't downplay at all the opportunity or the honour to go to the Euro Under-21s - I knew what was at stake."

Gomez started in England's 1-0 win over the Netherlands on Friday, but was forced off due to injury in the 10th minute, being replaced by Leicester's Harry Maguire. 

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