Virgil van Dijk: “Leave Gomez alone”
Virgil van Dijk defends his team-mate, Joe Gomez after England boos. This he does after Gomez’s row with Raheem Sterling and has called for people to “leave him alone.”
Gomez faced loud boos from some England supporters in the 7-0 win over Montenegro on Thursday. The incident left the player devastated and to an extent, the manager, Southgate offered the player and his family extra support after the game.
Boos followed a row at St George’s Park on Monday when Sterling tried to grab Gomez by the neck and said, “You think you are the big man now?” after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City.
Consequentially, The row led to Southgate handing Sterling a one-game ban after the two had made up. This meant the City forward missed the win over Montenegro and maybe the reason why some England fans decided to boo Gomez.
In response to that, Van Dijk spoke ahead of the Netherlands’ European Qualifier against Northern Ireland on Saturday.
“It is disappointing to see,” said Van Dijk over England supporter’s treatment towards Gomez.
“I want to say as well it has been dealt with. I think everyone should stop it because it is just a thing that happened. They all sorted it out.”
“Everyone needs to move on. Leave Joe alone. But yes, it was disappointing to see.”
Gomez is an extremely popular figure inside England’s dressing room. There is an understanding there is widespread bemusement among his international team-mates about why the crowd reacted to him the way they did
Reaction on the boos
Gomez was among the first players to leave England’s changing room after the game. He walked through the mixed zone alongside a senior member of England’s media team.
Sterling himself tweeted after the game, appealing for England fans to end the abuse. He made it clear that Gomez was entirely blameless in the spat that left with a scratch under his eye.
Southgate too praised Gomez’s reaction to the provocation from Sterling. He said the player had shown admirable restraint and professionalism.