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Gomez: “I Had My Mind Set on Liverpool”

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Despite competition from Manchester City and Arsenal, new centre half signing Joe Gomez says he had his mind set on Liverpool—and now his focus is on cracking the first team this season.

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Liverpool have had a number of transfer victories already this summer. Roberto Firmino chose Anfield over nearby rivals Manchester United. James Milner, meanwhile, chose Liverpool despite that Manchester City offered him more money to stay. New centre half signing, 18-year-old Joe Gomez, also picked the Reds over a number of competing options, including Arsenal and Manchester City.

His short-term future could still involve the player heading out on loan, but longer term, Gomez is one of England’s most promising young centre halves and the hope is that he will be the player who finally manages to go from promising youth signing to defensive stalwart at Anfield. The player at least is convinced he can do that, and it—and Brendan Rodgers’ history of giving youth a chance—was key to his signing.

"I met [Rodgers] and that was the deciding factor," said Gomez. "He was positive and has shown he will give young players an opportunity. I thought carefully about where would be the best place, give me the best chance to play, and it was Liverpool. I understand it’s a massive club and step up from where I've been. There are a lot more challenges but I'm going in with the aim to challenge for a place, regardless of age."

With Kolo Toure extending his contract earlier in the summer and no sign so far that the club is looking to offload the disappointing Dejan Lovren, Gomez will have a lot of competition. Yet beyond Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, who seem fairly safe bets to be the starting pairing when the season begins, there at least seems the chance an impressive pre-season for Gomez could see him force his way into consideration.

And that is clearly the player’s goal, despite that early rumours suggested he could be the latest Liverpool player set for a loan spell at Derby County. No matter what happens, though, he will at least be given pre-season to stake his claim, and that chance—as well as the man in charge of deciding whether he stays for the coming season or heads out on loan—is why Gomez is at Anfield and not the Emirates or Etihad.

"I want to prove myself, take this opportunity with both hands and try to play," added the confident young centre half. "There is going to be a bigger spotlight but I've got to thrive under that and use it in a positive way. I can understand Charlton fans wanting me to stay another year—to develop—but I'm ambitious and want to keep learning. Going to Liverpool was hard to turn down.

"I had my mind set on Liverpool and tried not to let the talk of other clubs distract me. I didn't really focus too much on anything else."