Interview with Joe Gomez | New Liverpool contract, development and future goals

Joe Gomez is aiming to create more treasured memories as a Liverpool player after signing a new long-term contract with the club on Thursday.

The defender committed his future with the Reds on new terms, signed at the AXA academy earlier today, which means his seven years with the club will be extended in the coming seasons.

Gomez has endured ups and downs during his time at Anfield to date. Serious injuries have prevented him from adding to his tally of 142 appearances so far, but the 25-year-old has picked up winners’ medals in the Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup FIFA, UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup and Carabao Cup. .

Now, having dedicated his future to Liverpool, the No.12 is aiming to add more positive stories to his journey in the years to come.

Watch our exclusive interview with Gomez below, or scroll down for a full transcript.

Joe, first of all, congratulations. A new contract at Liverpool, a long-term contract, how does it feel to do it?

This is obviously a special moment for me and my family. Another you dream of as child and one that I don’t take for granted. It’s an amazing place; in my eyes probably one of the best – if not the best – clubs in the world up to the minute. The opportunity to extend my stay here was an easy decision to make, really.

At 25, you could say the best years are still ahead of you. Does that play a big part in signing a deal like this?

Yes of course. Obviously, I’ve been here a while now, but overall I still feel young and, as you say, the best years are ahead of me. I have more to learn and the time to do it. I think I have the platform here to do that with the manager and the coaching staff around me and my teammates, to make sure the best years are ahead.

You were a teenager when you first signed here. If all goes as planned, we could even talk about testimonials. Is it your hope, that you are in Liverpool for the long term?

For sure. It’s one of my goals and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to spend so many years here at a club like this. There have also been great memories and challenges, but this is a big thing for me – the opportunity to stay here and create more history with the guys, and be a part of it. That’s my goal and hopefully come away with a career that I can look back on and be proud of as a Liverpool player all the time.

What has changed from a club perspective since you joined as a young boy?

A lot. I guess the gaffer came quite early in my journey here and we experienced it with the supporters and as a team. Incredible teammates joined and [we’ve had] Hit. The confidence within the team and the experience gained with the finals and the trophies probably helped to develop the team, the mentality within the team and the conviction within the city. It is the merit of the direction and the gaffer. It’s been a joy to have been part of this journey, but I think the bottom line is that I really want to play a big part in what’s to come – and the team needs to keep improving and not not dwell on what has been accomplished.

What has changed in you as an individual? Often we don’t see the difficulties, we see the good times and how brilliant it must be to play at the highest level, but there have been difficulties throughout your journey…

Absolutely. I wouldn’t change them, they were tough times and very early on, right at the start of my freshman year, I had a big test. I’ve had big ones since, but I wouldn’t change. I think those challenges and that club made me the man I am today. As you say I came as a teenager and that’s something I’m grateful for, I had such a good environment to grow up in, not just as a footballer but as a man. There are obviously times when I have to look back, learn lessons and grow, but there are also great memories. I’m really excited about the future and what’s to come.

Naturally, you will be disappointed that you didn’t play as much as you would have liked last season, so how do you approach that ahead of a new campaign?

Obviously, it was after a year that was difficult for me. I came into pre-season in a place where I knew I had to sort of find my feet and the boys did well. It’s not something I’m going to ignore and act like I don’t want to play anymore, but my hunger is there. I did my best to apply myself throughout the year and the coaches were aware of that. I really tried to be the best teammate I could be for the boys in a sense of support but also pushing them and trying to compete. I think the big thing this year is to take on that challenge. It’s obviously a decision I had to make and the result is that I want to fight for my place and be the best I can be. It’s part and parcel of being at a club like this; we have arguably the best players in the world, so it will increase my ceiling, but I also have to try to push them and fight for my place. That’s basically what this year means to me.

It says a lot about you as an elite player, individual and athlete. You accept in a big club that the competition will be intense for each position…

That’s all you want. I think that’s why players are incentivized to come here because you know you’re going to be in the best environment against the best players every day. It will push you – and it has pushed me over the years, for sure. The boys helped me learn things I probably wouldn’t have had elsewhere, as well as the gaffer. That’s my goal, I hope the best years are ahead of me and I’m more determined than ever to make sure that’s the case. It’s a new start to try to attack the year.

You have already mentioned the director several times. It’s a massive attraction for new recruits to come here. Is it the same for the players who are already there, that he has a huge influence on you and the decisions you make?

Massively. The gaffer is, I think, the best in the world for me. He was an important part of my life, not just as a manager but as a man. He teaches us every day every principle outside of football in the way he carries himself and the way he is as a person. Having the opportunity to learn from him as a teenager so far has been great and I know I can learn a lot more from him which is why I think this is the best place for me. I’m really grateful for the lessons he taught me throughout my time here, whether through injuries or times when I was doing well. He always found the right balance, the right advice. I think that’s why people want to come here and why those who are here – like me – want to stay.

You added two trophies to the cabinet last season and the other two came at very nice margins. How sure are you that this story is almost where it started?

Very. I think we have strengthened this year in the summer. I’m sad to see Sadio go, but we have a manager who’s going to be around for a while now. As I said, [he is] if it’s not the best in the world, I can’t see who else is. It gives us a platform to carry on and I think the main thing is the mentality within the team, there is no sign of resting on our laurels or feeling that we have achieved all that there is to do. I think the guys are hungrier than ever and being a part of that is huge and I think the platform is here to have another successful season and fight on all fronts. Obviously it was a disappointing end to the Champions League, but I don’t think coming out of there there was an ounce of concern that we wouldn’t be back there. That’s the goal, of course.

It was interesting to see the evolution of the players since they obtained on the parade bus after the Champions League final until you got off. You could see the appetite of the supporters, you could see the size of the club. What was it like for you as a group of players to see the fans in the city during this parade?

I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but for me, it definitely took me by surprise. Again, it’s a sign of why we want to be here as a team and why we’re so lucky to be part of this club. I don’t think there is another team in the world that could lose the final and return to that kind of welcome and support. I think many of us said it was one of the best days of our lives and we’re not going to say that lightly. It was a special moment. Again, times like this are an opportunity to reflect on what we have here at this club. Doing that only gives us a boost and that’s why we want to play for the city and for the fans to give them more positive moments in the same way they gave us that boost after a disappointing night.

You could hear players saying this: where else would you get that kind of fan reception?

Probably nowhere. It’s a special city and I think everyone who comes knows that. Every time we play at Anfield we know that. Day in and day out we all know we are in an incredibly lucky position to be at a club like this. It was one of those moments that underscored that.

Let’s finish with what next season looks like when you close your eyes and consider what could be in front of you individually and also for this team?

Obviously, individually, it’s doing everything I can to help the team. To push me on all fronts and hit the ground running. Participate more and do everything I can to get the best out of myself and my teammates. I think as a band the sky is the limit. We want to do one, or even two, better than last season and aim for everything. We definitely have the ability to do it and the belief is there, it’s just a matter of taking it one game at a time, like we did last season, and just being true to ourselves, playing as we play under the direction of the gaffer. Who’s to say we can’t continue to do more than we did last season?

Sara H. Byrd