Joe Gomez praised Gareth Southgate for putting his faith in England’s youngsters after he was named man of the match in Tuesday’s goalless draw with Brazil.
The 20-year-old played his part in keeping the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and club-mate Philippe Coutinho at bay as the Three Lions played out a second 0-0 Wembley stalemate in four days.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek had picked up the man of the match award on his debut in Friday’s draw with Germany and, while Gomez made his own international bow as a first-half substitute against the world champions, he too would collect the accolade following his first start.
Southgate has handed out 12 England debuts in 2017 with the majority coming through the youth squads and the England development plan now in place at St George’s Park.
Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke was the last of that dozen as he came off the bench to almost score a winning goal against the Brazilians and his team-mate Gomez believes Southgate’s impact on England’s youngsters should not go unnoticed.
“It has been massive,” he said.
“I had a relationship with Gareth from when he was the under-21s coach and I know how good he is as a manager. He is great for young players like me, you can see how many opportunities he has given in just this squad alone so it has been great.
“I’m learning from all the backroom staff. It is a great effort that is put together to try and produce performances and now we have just got to try and build on it and keep the momentum going into the World Cup.”
Gomez has made 20 starts for Liverpool since joining in 2015 but is starting to establish himself at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp and was pleased to continue his development as part of an England back-three tasked with keeping out the world’s most expensive footballer.
“Obviously you come into the game and you are aware of the quality they have and all the world-class players,” he said.
“A couple I know from back at my club and obviously the likes of Neymar in their team they have always got quality but for me it has been a great experience coming into this team.
“There has been so much help and guidance coming in from the experienced players and the togetherness as a team helped us through.”
Source: By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport