Biography and family
Joseph Dave Gomez (born 23 May 1997) is an English professional footballer who plays as a defender for Premier League club Liverpool and the English national team. He began his career at Charlton Athletic, breaking into the first team at 17 and playing one full senior season before joining Liverpool in June 2015. Gomez has struggled with injuries during his time at Liverpool, but appeared in the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final as Liverpool won the competition. He has represented England at every level and played every minute of every match when England won the 2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. He made his senior debut for the England team in November 2017, at the age of 20.
Gomez was born in Catford, London to a Gambian father and an English mother. He joined the academy at nearby Charlton Athletic at the age of 10, making his debut for the club’s under-18 team at just 13 years old. Despite strong interest from other clubs, Gomez signed his first professional contract with Charlton in October 2014. His senior debut came in a 4–0 League Cup victory over Colchester United at The Valley on 12 August 2014, playing the full 90 minutes as the right back. A week later he made his league debut in a 3–2 home win against Derby County in the Championship. Gomez went on to make 24 appearances during his first season including 18 starts, both at right back and in his preferred position of centre-back.
On 20 June 2015, Premier League club Liverpool signed Gomez on a five-year contract for a fee of £3.5 million. He made his debut against Stoke City on 9 August, starting as a left back in a 1–0 win, assisting Philippe Coutinho’s match-winning goal in the 86th minute. On 13 October 2015, Gomez suffered a season ending anterior cruciate ligament injury while playing for England U21. A full year later, Gomez returned to full first team training on 13 October 2016. On 13 November, Gomez played 45 minutes in a behind closed doors friendly. On 8 January 2017, Gomez made his first start in official first-team match since the injury, in FA Cup tie against Plymouth Argyle.
On 23 August 2017, Gomez made his European debut, in a 4–2 win over Hoffenheim in the UEFA Champions League play-off. Due to the injury of Nathaniel Clyne, Gomez was the first choice right-back for the first half of the season; even starting in games against rivals Arsenal and Manchester United; against the former he assisted the first goal in an eventual 4–0 win, and his performance against the latter receiving praise from fans. In late March 2018, it was confirmed how Gomez would miss the next few games as a result of suffering an injury during an international friendly game. In May 2018, Gomez underwent surgery to his ankle injury, with Liverpool confirming via their official website that Gomez wouldn’t play in Liverpool’s last fixtures of the season, including the 2018 UEFA Champions League final. Overall, Gomez made 31 appearances across the season for Liverpool.
As a result of the doubtful fitness of regular first-team defenders Dejan Lovren and Joël Matip, Gomez played as first-choice centre-back in Liverpool’s first games of the season alongside Virgil van Dijk, receiving praise for his performances and receiving the Man of the Match for his performance in a 2–1 win over Leicester City on 1 September. He continued to feature in defence for the club during the opening half of the season before suffering a fractured leg in December following a challenge by Burnley defender, Ben Mee. In February of the following year, he underwent surgery in an attempt to assist his recovery from the injury.
Gomez has been capped by England at under-16, under-17 and under-19 levels. In May 2014, he was part of the squad that won the 2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Malta, playing every minute of England’s five matches and being named in UEFA’s team of the tournament. On 25 August 2015, he received his first call-up to the under-21 squad. On 30 August 2017, Gomez was announced as England U21 captain ahead of the qualifying campaign for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. He received his first call-up to the England senior squad in November 2017. He made his England debut against Germany at Wembley Stadium in a friendly match, coming on as a substitute to replace Phil Jones in a 0–0 draw. Gomez received a man of the match award in the following game for his performance against Brazil, earning praise for a number of crucial interceptions, and with his ability to nullify the threat of the current world record transfer holder, Neymar. On 16 May 2018, due to being out injured, he was left out of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England national team squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.