Date: 11th September 2019 at 3:58pm
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Former England manager Steve McClaren has hailed Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez for his footballing intelligence. 

The 22-year-old has been away on international duty, but failed to feature in either of England’s recent Euro 2020 qualifying matches.

McClaren has still be suitably impressed with him, however.

Speaking to Sky Sports, as quoted by the Echo (9.49), he said: “Again, a modern-day centre-back. I remember seeing him at Charlton when he was playing right-back.

“Wow! He could defend. One-on-one he never got beat.

“I always saw him as a right-back, but Klopp’s tried him at centre-back. Purely for the fact that the way Liverpool want to play and how England want to play also.

“On the front foot, in your opponents half, so you have to defend on the halfway line. Gomez is quick and he is intelligent. And he would be able to recover if he were to get exposed.”

OPINION

You have to feel for Gomez. It looked for all the world as if last year was going to be his breakout season. After hopping over both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren in the pecking order at Anfield, and after playing his way into Gareth Southgate’s England plans, it seemed as if he was on an upward trajectory that would take him to the very top of the English game. Unfortunately for him, however, his progress was derailed somewhat by the the broken leg he suffered against Burnley in December. Since coming back from that injury, he has seen himself on the periphery both club and country, but as hinted toward by McClaren here, he is more than good enough to fight his way back into the starting 11 at both levels. Gomez averaged 2.4 clearances and 1.1 tackles per game for the Reds last term in an injury-ravaged season, as per Whoscored, but if he can build on that this time around, then it will be hard for Jurgen Klopp, or Southgate for that matter, to ignore him for much longer.