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Southgate hints at 'cautious' approach for Liverpool ace who didn't play a minute for 9 months

Gareth Southgate has hinted that it will take some time for Joe Gomez to return to the England squad.

Speaking to the press via the Mirror, the Three Lions manager revealed that the Liverpool defender will need to be settled into the rhythm of Premier League football before being selected again for international duty.

Gomez had missed most of last season after suffering a serious knee injury with England. The issue made the defender miss nine months of football. With the 24-year-old only just returning to action for the Reds.

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Before the injury, Gomez was viewed as one of England’s most reliable centre-backs and a first-choice option for Southgate. However, the rise of Harry Maguire and John Stones as a defensive partnership could limit the Liverpool ace’s playing time.

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And Southgate is eager for Gomez to return to full fitness before he will even be considered for England. The Three Lions boss said: “We kept in contact with Joe throughout his rehab. We would be very cautious about when we put Joe back in.

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“The rehab from that injury is a really important one to get right. He needs to be settled in with Liverpool with plenty of minutes on the pitch feeling in a good place with all of that before we start thinking of selecting him with us.”

With Gomez hardly kicking a ball this season, the decision to allow him to build on his fitness at club level is sensible from the England manager. And Liverpool will be hoping the defender can stay healthy throughout this season.

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