Tony Cascarino insists Joe Gomez should now be considered one of the top defenders in world football.
The Liverpool star impressed yet again on Sunday as he played a starring role in England’s 2-1 UEFA Nations League win over Croatia.
His Wembley outing continued an outstanding start to the season in which he has asserted himself as a long-term option at centre-back for both club and country.
Besides making a string of key interventions at the back, the 21-year-old also helped set up England’s equaliser with an enormous throw-in.
Writing in his column for the Times, Cascarino said: “Mark my words, Joe Gomez is destined to be England’s first-choice centre-half for the next ten years.”
“When the national manager comes to pick his defence, the Liverpool man will be the first name down. It will be Gomez, then either John Stones or Harry Maguire alongside him.”
He added: “For me he is up there with Raphael Varane, of France, as world class. Gomez has everything you need in a centre-half and more — pace, strength, heading ability, composure and a long throw, too, to provide set-piece chances.”
The season has staged the beginning of the Englishman’s evolution from a raw prospect into a well-rounded and self-assured defender.
A remarkable rise to form has seen him polish the ball-playing composure and passing expertise he arrived with back in 2015, as well as enhance his positional discipline and physical authority.
He has already teased the traits of becoming the perfect modern-day central defender and forming potentially one of the Premier League’s most formidable partnerships over the coming years with Virgil van Dijk.
To put him on Varane’s level at this stage may be slightly premature, but the similarities are undoubtedly there.