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Gomez and Ibe Set for England U21 Debuts

Joe Gomez and Jordon Ibe are set to make their England U21 debuts tonight against the USA, and Gomez spoke today about the experience—and about how he likes being pushed out of his comfort zone.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

After starting for Liverpool across the month of August, 18-year-old Joe Gomez is set to make his debut for England’s U21s tonight in a match against the United States. At times he’s looked the young kid he is, a centre half playing out of position on the flank, but his talent and confidence is clear and his potential seems limitless.

He also says his move to Liverpool, and being asked to play at left back, is a challenge he has enjoyed. It hasn’t always gone perfectly, and over the longer term it’s difficult to imagine he won’t end up in the middle for Liverpool eventually, but for now he believes it’s useful for the sake of his development to have been pushed out of his comfort zone.

"I prefer being somewhere I’m a bit out of my depth and need to challenge myself," Gomez said during a break in England training. "At Charlton, I was playing at right back, so I suppose it’s similar but it is a bit different being on my weaker foot. It’s all helping me. I’d like to play centre-back eventually, but it helps me positionally to play as a fullback."

Gomez will start for England tonight alongside club teammate Jordon Ibe, who is expected to be a regular for the U21s this year. Ibe has represented England at the U18, U19, and U20 level, but as with Gomez, tonight will be the promising youngster’s first time turning out for the U21s—though there’s already talk of a senior debut not being far off.

"I’ve got on well with Jordon and have been quite close to him since I moved to Liverpool, so it’s helped with him being here too," added Gomez. "We’re a similar age, we’re the young boys in the team and we’re both from London so we get on well. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and it’s been a good experience of my first time coming away with the U21s."

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