Joe Gomez looks to protect England U17s defensive record

Monday 12 May 2014
Joe Gomez targets another clean sheet against Turkey
Joe Gomez prides himself on clean sheets – and he is determined to keep England Under-17s impressive defensive record going against Turkey on Monday.

The Charlton Athletic defender has played a key role in recording six clean sheets out of seven during this European Championship campaign, conceding only one goal in qualifying, but he expects the back line to be tested to the maximum in Gozo this morning.

“It is a massive game as we want to secure our place in the semis as soon as possible,” Gomez told The “And they need a result to stay in the competition – so it is going to be highly-competitive.

England v Turkey

Monday 12 May 2014
European Championship
Gozo Stadium, Gozo, Malta


“The tempo is going to be fast, and it will be a big test, but I’m really looking forward to it.

“We played them in August at St. George’s Park and it was tough game. We defended really well in that and this promises to be another hard match.”

As well as the firepower within the side, the resolute defensive wall was vital to England’s 100 per cent run in qualifying for the competition, and Gomez was pleased to kick-off the Championship with another shut out against Malta.

“We always want to keep a clean sheet as well as scoring goals. Goal difference could prove vital so we were delighted to keep another one against Malta.

“In international football you always need that. It’s nice to have possession, which we controlled, but it is also difficult as they could counter or pounce on one mistake.

“The whole team played a part in it, we stayed focussed and concentrated, and we deserved it.”

The South-London born Gomez has won many admirers with his style of play, commanding in the air and tackle, but also his ability to bring the ball out from the back and launch attacks and been highly-impressive.

After growing up watching two of his heroes perform a similar role for club and country, Gomez says he works every day on improving his game to replicate them.

"We always want to keep a clean sheet as well as scoring goals."

Joe Gomez


He said: “I grew up watching players like Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King and I try to aspire to be like them and to reach that top level with my club and country.

“I try to enhance my abilities every day, and I do like to pick up the ball and bring it out from the back – but only at the right time. I never get complacent as I don’t want to lose the ball in a vital position, but I do believe it is one of my biggest qualities.

“It’d be nice to get amongst the goals more often, but the most important thing for me is protecting our defensive record. We want to keep our clean sheet record going – and that starts again against Turkey.”

And having been together for over a week now, Gomez added that the squad could not be more ready for the challenge.

“The facilities out here are first-class and we have all settled in nicely and we could not have asked for better preparation.”

He added: “We definitely have the capability to go all the way. We did really well in all the qualifying rounds and we have a strong bond within the team.

“Obviously there are a number of other big threats, but we all have the belief that we can go all the way.”

England v Turkey kicks-off at 10:15am and will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2. You can keep up-to-date with all the action on Twitter by following @FA.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer in Malta