Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has explained his recovery from a nightmare ACL injury, after making his return to first-team training.
The 19-year-old spent a year on the sidelines after damaging his ACL while on duty with the England Under-21s in 2015, and is yet to play for new manager Jurgen Klopp.
After a long rehabilitation, however, he is now training under the German, and was given a standing ovation by his team-mates on his return to the field.
Speaking to BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Charlie Sloth at Melwood, Gomez described his comeback, saying he had “learned a lot, physically and mentally.”
“It has been a long year. It has been tough,” he said of his long spell on the treatment table.
“But it is all behind me—I’ve grown from it and learned a lot physically and mentally. Only good can come from it.”
Though he is unlikely to take to the field for the first team any time soon, Gomez is setting his sights on reclaiming the key role he enjoyed on making the move from Charlton Athletic in 2015.
“Playing for Liverpool is such an honour,” he said.
“It was a great feeling and I just want to get back to doing that now.”
Gomez is the subject of loan interest from both Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town, but Liverpool are believed to be reluctant to let the versatile teenager leave on a temporary deal.
It could be that he finds himself turning out for the Under-23s in the coming weeks as he continues his recovery.
Premier League 2 would provide Gomez with the competitive game time he requires, where he would be able to partner the likes of Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori at centre-back, or deputise in a more progressive role at either left- or right-back.
Klopp has revealed himself to be an admirer of Gomez’s talents, and his future no doubt lies in the senior squad at Anfield.
Having successfully recovered from the most disappointing of setbacks, Gomez can now target a return to the Premier League in the long term, benefiting from his test of character on the sidelines.