Joe Gomez is growing increasingly confident of moving into his preferred position at centre back for Liverpool in the future after crediting the invaluable experience at right back as the key to any potential long term success.
The 21-year-old has had plenty of setbacks at Anfield since joining the club from Charlton in 2015, but he enjoyed a largely consistent campaign last season after making 31 appearances across all competitions.
A cruciate ligament injury and achilles issues plagued his first two years on Merseyside before Jurgen Klopp opted to instate him in the right back role in rotation with Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Injury struck again in March to rule the England international out of the season and a potential spot in the Three Lions’ World Cup squad.
However, as he gears up for another pre season at the club, Gomez is aware of the competition at right back and is hopeful that his future lies in the centre of the Reds’ defence.
“Yeah, my mindset is still probably that I will end up coming inside and being a centre-half,” he told Goal. “That’s one thing that I suppose I have had to adapt in terms of my mentality.
“When you visualise yourself going into a game, they’re two completely different positions.
“I think I probably made the switch in my mentality last season, where I was pretty much always at right-back. But I do picture myself coming inside, and I reckon the manager does as well. When that’ll be, there’s no time on it.
“I’m still young, and things can happen when you least expect them as we’ve seen. In the meantime, it’s about learning the game, in both positions.”
Gomez is firmly of the belief that playing in another role only serves as an advantage to his development as a player, as he added: “It definitely helps make you more rounded in terms of positional play.
“I am learning what a centre-back wants from his right-back, and vice versa, you know? It’s good to get that perspective.
“I know if I’m playing centre-back, there are certain places where you don’t give your full-back the ball, because I’ve been the full-back! And, likewise, I’ve been the centre-back who has been wanting his full-back to come round on the cover or whatever.
“They’re the things you learn with experience.“I think it’s a natural progression, a lot of centre-backs start wide when they’re young and move inside.”