Gomez given chance to shine

Joe Gomez’s hopes of securing a spot in the Charlton Athletic first-team were boosted as he impressed on his first senior outing for the club on Sunday.

The England U17s defender played a huge role as John Peacock’s Young Lions won the European Championship in Malta in May – and his potential will be given every chance to flourish according to new Addicks boss Bob Peeters.

Peeters named the youngster in his starting line-up as his side fought out a 0-0 draw with Sint-Truiden on Sunday evening, and Gomez gave an assured display which included a last-ditch headed goal-line clearance to secure a clean sheet.

“I really enjoyed the game and thought I did well – it’s always good to keep a clean sheet too,” Gomez said afterwards.

“I’ve been with the seniors since the start of pre-season and it has been good. I’m just going to keep doing my best, learn as much as I can, and see where it takes me.”

Gomez played a key role as England U17s won the European Championship in May

Gomez played a key role as England U17s won the European Championship

The 17-year-old is one of a number of academy products being given an opportunity by Peeters in the Philips Stayen Cup this summer as the manager looks to promote from within before making any move in the transfer market.

“I like to work with people who were born locally and played in the academy,” the new gaffer told the South London Press.

“I will always search in my academy first and if I can play a local boy, then I don’t need to look to buy another player. That is one of my philosophies as a manager.”

And following success with a number of his former proteges back in his native Belgium, he has high hopes for the youngsters at The Valley – especially Gomez.

“One of the main reasons I signed here was because in Belgium I was giving a lot of young players a chance; they are all now regulars in Belgium’s first division,” Peeters explained.

“The academy of Charlton is of a high standard and I have already said to Joe Gomez, who is only 17, that he will do pre-season with the first team. I want to see if young players can do the job.

“It is important if you have a talented young defender to give him a chance.

“You need two or three of those so that the other young players can see that they will get the opportunity to play in the first team at Charlton.”

Gomez will be hoping to do enough to earn a place in the squad for Charlton’s opening Championship game of the season at Brentford on Saturday 9 August.