When Joe Gomez limped off late against Kazakhstan while on duty with the England U21 side this week, few thought it was serious. The player was moving under his own power, and the assumption was that at worst he might be kept out on the weekend against Tottenham as a precautionary measure.
Instead, today we have news that the player has torn his ACL and will have to undergo surgery. He is expected to miss the remainder of the 2015-16 season as he recovers. Based on similar injuries suffered by other players, it would be unwise to expect him back to his best until the season after that at the earliest.
That's assuming, of course, that the injury doesn't derail his development at what looked primed to be a key stage for the 18-year-old defender. Youth may be on his side and could help with his recovery chances, but he will spend an entire year on the sidelines at a time when getting games is of the utmost importance.
A year stagnating on the sidelines could see his development stunted and others stepping up to fill his place on the roster—either through internal promotion or as new players arrive in the transfer market—and could make minutes harder to get next season when he will be trying to regain fitness.
Gomez collided with a Kazakh player near the corner flag ten minutes before the end of the match on Tuesday and, until he returned to the club today, there was no suggestion it was a serious injury. He arrived at Liverpool for a bargain £3.5M over the summer and had impressed in the early going this season.