England manager Gareth Southgate has hinted that Joe Gomez could be part of his World Cup squad after starring in his full debut against Brazil.
Gomez made his second appearance for the Three Lions in their showcase friendly at Wembley on Tuesday night, having featured in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Germany.
Starting on the right-hand side of Southgate’s back three alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire, the 20-year-old produced a Man of the Match display.
He made a monstrous eight interceptions, with his front-footed approach keeping Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar quiet throughout.
And the former Charlton Athletic youngster was equally impressive stepping out of defence, completing 39 passes with a success rate of 87.2 percent.
Speaking after the game, Southgate hailed Gomez’s performance, particularly his composure against the threat of Brazil’s attack and its significance after a long-term ACL injury.
“I thought they were all excellent but Joe was named man of the match and rightly so,” he told reporters.
“I think his decision-making was outstanding. We know his athleticism is a real asset but to see his calmness in the face of such high-quality movement, dealing with through passes he had to read…superb.
“Joe has been one of the best young players in our system for a long time. He has come back from an ACL injury and showed great character.
“And tonight he’s had a wonderful experience. It gives me plenty to think about.”
The suggestion is that Gomez could have an outside chance of making Southgate’s squad for the World Cup in Russia next summer.
With Nathaniel Clyne sidelined until at least February after back surgery, the Catford native is likely to enjoy considerable game time at Liverpool this season.
While he has been alternating with Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, Gomez is certainly the more well-rounded of the pair, and can also be utilised at centre-back when required.
There is a romanticism to Gomez’s rise under Southgate, too, given it was playing under the 47-year-old for the England U21s that he ruptured his ACL in 2015.
Southgate is clearly a big admirer of the bullish, intelligent defender, and his experience of working with Gomez on the youth stage could pay off.
With question marks over the long-term England future of Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling, and Gomez performing so well with Stones and Maguire, a new generation could break through.