Joe Gomez has hailed Liverpool youngster Kaide Gordon, and believes there is “no ceiling” on what the teenager could go on to become at Anfield.
Gordon, at 16 years and 351 days, became the fifth youngest debutant in Reds history on Tuesday night, starting the 3-0 win at Norwich in the Carabao Cup.
Signed from Derby in January, in a deal which could eventually cost the Reds more than £3million ($4.1m), the England U17 winger is already considered part of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team setup, having impressed during the pre-season training camps in Austria and France.
What did Gomez say about Gordon?
Speaking pitchside after the win at Norwich, Gomez smiled when asked about Gordon’s potential and the impact he had made on Liverpool’s senior players.
“The biggest thing about Kaide is that he seems to have such an old head on his shoulders,” he said. “And that level-headed mindset keeps him in his place.
“His ability speaks for itself, but he’s such a nice guy. In pre-season, he took everything in his stride.
“Every time he trains with us he applies himself properly. He does extra things that wouldn’t even have crossed my mind when I was his age. Hats off to him, and I’m sure he can go on to have a great career.
“The platform he has, there’s no ceiling to it.”Getty
Gomez also paid tribute to new signing Ibrahima Konate, who partnered him at centre-back against Norwich having made his Premier League debut in the weekend win over Crystal Palace.
“Ibou is a top guy and an unbelievable player,” he said. “Look at his attributes, you can see how good he is.
“When I was younger I had Virg [Van Dijk] to learn from, but Ibou is already experienced, he’s already a top player, he’s played in the Champions League.
“It’s just enjoyable playing alongside him, we both relish being young centre-backs trying to prove ourselves. We strive to push each other every day.”
Asked about the competition for centre-back places, with Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Nat Phillips all available for selection, Gomez was positive.
“It’s a healthy environment,” he insisted. “We’re all really close. Everyone knows how close I am with Virgil, but I am with Joel as well. Maybe people don’t see it because Joel is not on social media, but we are all very close.
“It’s healthy. And we all need rotation as well. We’ve all had our injuries, and I think that [rotation] will help us. We embrace the challenge, it’s what you expect at a club like Liverpool.”Getty
‘Injury didn’t demoralise me’
On a personal level, Tuesday was a proud night for Gomez, who captained Liverpool for the first time.
It has been a long road back for the 24-year-old, who spent eight months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury suffered in training with England last November.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I’m putting a lot of work in. Unfortunately I’ve done this a few times, so there are things you can learn along the way, knowing how to manage yourself.
“I’m just enjoying myself, and I’m grateful to be around such a good group of people, training as hard as I can every day and doing as much as I can outside of that to keep progressing and come back stronger.”
Goal had previously spoken to Gomez about the mental toughness needed to fight back from injury, and he had stated in that 2019 interview that he was “blessed” to be able to do the job he does.
So is that still the case?
“Even more so now, yes,” he said. “When this injury happened, I was already in that mindset. I didn’t need another reminder to knock me off my high horse, because I wasn’t on my high horse at all.
“This one was painful, but I think it was an accumulation of the difficult circumstances where we were down to the bare bones. I think a few of us picked up injuries because of that. I just got hit with a bigger one.
“But that’s part and parcel of the game, but the main thing is that I use it to try and come back as well as I can, work as hard as I can and put it behind me.
“It definitely didn’t demoralise me. It made me hungrier and more grateful than ever before.”