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Joe Gomez Earns MOTM Plaudits Against Brazil

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The young defender put in a strong shift against a formidable Brazilian attack.

England U21 Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Liverpool’s young defender, Joe Gomez, put in a man of the match shift when England hosted Brazil in a friendly that ended in a goalless draw. Gomez earned his first senior-level start for Gareth Southgate’s England side due to Gary Cahill’s injury. He’d made his debut as a second half substitute in the previous friendly against Germany.

The 20-year-old played at center-back, his preferred position, and helped to effectively nullify the significant attacking threat of Neymar and fellow Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho, among other Brazilian heavyweights. The match ended in a respectable goalless draw, but it’s Gomez who came away as the story of the game.

Speaking afterward, Gomez said, “For someone like me, it's a great experience to play at this level against a team like Brazil with all the players they have. We are happy with the clean sheet.

“It has been special for me. It's a great honour to play for England at this level. I have to aim to keep playing and try to improve and hopefully more opportunities will come.”

Southgate also had plenty of praise for the resilient defender, saying, “Joe's performance tonight against top players – really, I thought a lot of the defending was outstanding but for him in particular, to come into a game like that with the little experience he has, it was a top, top performance.”

After the injury difficulties that Gomez has faced over the past few seasons, it’s heartening to see his career begin to blossom. It’s also good news for Liverpool fans who see the center-back position as one that could use some fresh talent.

Other good news to come out of that game for the Reds is the fact that Coutinho, who had missed several club games with a thigh injury, played 68 minutes uninjured. Coutinho’s return will be a much-needed injury boost going into the fixture-heavy winter months.