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03-Mar-2020, 06:40 pm

Gomez ‘stand-offish’ as a result of Sterling spat which marred last England camp

Raheem Sterling Joe Gomez Manchester City Liverpool 2019-20

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez admits to having been left "stand-offish" following his much-publicised spat with Manchester City winger and England team-mate Raheem Sterling.

Back in November 2019, during the heat of Premier League battle, two international colleagues clashed during a heated domestic contest at Anfield.

A matter of hours later, they were reunited at St George's Park on Three Lions duty.

Tempers flared up once again, with Gareth Southgate eventually taking the decision to drop Sterling from his plans for a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

Gomez was kept in the squad and figured off the bench in a 7-0 win, only to be greeted by a chorus of boos from certain sections of the home support.

The unfortunate episode left a sour taste, despite apparently being ironed out, and a man at the centre of the storm says he is still affected by it.

Gomez told The Athletic: "I enjoy football, it's my passion, but there are a lot of things that come with it, like the limelight.

"But I just like being with my missus, my kid and my friends. So I consciously choose not to be out there like that. So my main problem with that whole thing was just being thrown into something that I wasn't used to."

He added on being thrust under the microscope: "That's the thing that I didn't enjoy. And it was annoying that that camp ended with me not being able to play, to get over it and move on.

"If anything it has made me a bit more stand-offish.

"But in terms of the actual situation (with Sterling), what happened, happened. We spoke. It was done. As a team, it was done. So in my head, it was done. It was just then that the game happened with the reception."

England have not been in action since the autumn, but do have friendly outings against Italy and Denmark fast approaching.

It could be that Sterling and Gomez find themselves operating at close quarters once again.

The Liverpool defender said of rejoining the Three Lions fold alongside a man he tangled with in the recent past: "I haven't really processed it.

"With what happened brings experience. I went out to train and I knew that the first session after it came out publicly, eyes were going to be on me. I was never used to that before. So, good or bad, it was an experience."

For now, Gomez is focused on returning to full fitness after suffering a slight knock and earning a recall to the Liverpool side that Jurgen Klopp has chasing down Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League honours.

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