Joe Gomez made a triumphant and impressive return to international football on Monday evening, playing all 90 minutes of England U21s’ 4-0 win over Denmark.
It was a proud night for Gomez, who made his first appearance for his country in 531 days, following a lengthy injury lay-off.
He missed 15 months of action spanning three separate years, having suffered cruciate ligament damage for England’s U21s against Kazakhstan in October 2015, and returning for Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle in January.
The 19-year-old was named in Aidy Boothroyd’s starting lineup for Monday’s friendly at AutoC Park Randers, and was deployed as a right-back.
He came through the contest unscathed, and looked a class act with his use of the ball, attacking forays and defensive work.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring with just 10 minutes on the clock, before Brighton & Hove Albion’s Solly March doubled the lead shortly after with a superb finish.
Gomez has been outstanding in this first half. Touch, composure, some sinuous runs upfield and a couple of perfectly timed challenges.
— James Gheerbrant (@JamesGheerbrant) March 27, 2017
The game was put to bed on the hour mark by Fulham forward Cauley Woodrow, before the impressive Loftus-Cheek put the icing on the cake midway through the second-half.
This will be seen as the latest positive step in Gomez’s recovery, as he looks to slowly become a first-team regular under Jurgen Klopp.
The Liverpool boss appears to be managing him very carefully at the moment, perhaps allowing Gomez to ease his way back in before pre-season in the summer.
The former Charlton Athletic man is seen as a potential future starter for the Reds, and there have even been some calls for him to jump ahead of Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan in the centre-back pecking order between now and May.
Klopp is unlikely to do that, but assuming he avoids serious injury between now and the start of next season, we are likely to see a lot more of Gomez.
He is one of the brightest English talents around, and this was very a positive night for him.