What's the worst way for an 18-year-old defender to be introduced to the world of Premier League football? A trip to the most accommodating team in the England's top division: Stoke City. That was what Joe Gomez endured on Sunday as he featured for his new club at left back over purported regular Alberto Moreno.
It was a difficult afternoon for the youngster as the home side saw the former Charlton Athletic defender as a potential weak link in the visiting side. Furthermore, Jonathan Walters was a pesky, troublesome, and experienced opponent for young Gomez. Thankfully, Liverpool got a victory as well as a clean sheet. It is hoped that this game will be stored in the fledgling's defensive database for future use when needed, and coming through strenuous matchdays with a positive ending overall will only aid Gomez's development at the club.
"It was a great experience and obviously getting the win at the end made it better," Gomez said after a relatively successful introduction to Premier League football. "The last few months, I would never have dreamed that I'd get the opportunity as quickly as I have. It's just thanks to the team and the gaffer for giving me the opportunity to play. It was a good result for the team and that's the main thing. One of the reasons I wanted to come to Liverpool is because Brendan is such a great manager giving young players opportunities and I'm thankful for that."
That is one of Brendan Rodgers' undoubted strengths as a manager: working with and promoting young players. There's no guarantee that they will remain in the first-team picture, as previous years have shown, but chances will be there for younger members of the squad to potentially seize. One of them, Jon Flanagan, will hopefully return to possibly compete with Gomez for a place in the Liverpool squad and starting line-up. Until then, it appears that Gomez will feature quite regularly until then. He appears mentally well-suited mentally to handle the demands of playing for one of the Premier League's top clubs.
"It was only used as motivation to come back here and get a result," he added with a promising ruthlessness. "I don't think there was any negativity about looking back at what happened. All the boys used it as motivation and it made it that bit more important to try and get the win. There seems to be a great vibe in the changing room and all the boys seem to get on well. Everyone wants to do well this season and there's a real hunger in the team so hopefully we can do good things."
Good things will be most welcome, especially if they involve qualifying for the Champions League next season.
- Liverpool FC Transfer Rumours: Reds Target Set for Roma Move
- Henderson Cautions Against Getting Carried Away Following Hard-Fought Victory
- Mignolet: "We All Knew What Was Going to Happen"
- Liverpool FC Transfer Rumours: Lucas for Sale Following "Fall-Out"
- The Week in Comments: "At least it’s not El-Hadji Traore Diarra"