Gareth Southgate believes Joe Gomez will be a stronger character after his traumatic week with England.

And while a knee injury forced Gomez to miss the trip to Kosovo, Southgate admitted it was a ‘good moment’ for the Liverpool defender to escape the spotlight.

The England manager said: “He wasn’t able to train today…so it was a simple decision and I think now is a good moment for him just to go home for a couple of days, clear his head.”

Ahead of Sunday’s game in Pristina and before the injury, Southgate insisted he had not made a decision about the possible selection of Gomez, who will be fit for Liverpool’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Joe Gomez has been backed to comeback stronger from his horror week

But Southgate did admit it had been a tough time for Gomez, who was, first, accosted by Raheem Sterling and then jeered by some in the Wembley crowd when he made came on as a substitute in the 7-0 win over Montenegro.

“I think for him it’s been a difficult week,” Southgate said. “But one that will make him stronger and one that he’s dealt with really well.

“The pleasing thing is we’ve got him back on the pitch. I think the fact that Raheem put out the tweet the other night was real closure on that whole incident.

‘I’d been able to speak to him after the game, his team-mates had spoken after the game and he picked up that feeling … he was in a much better place very quickly.”

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Gareth Southgate has vowed to look after Gomez

Gomez sustained the knock that kept him at home after tangling with team-mate Kieran Trippier on the training ground on Friday.

And as his absence led to predictable conspiracy theories, Southgate could see the amusing side.

He smiled: “We actually ended up having a chuckle this morning. It’s ridiculous him having to go home in the way he is. You couldn’t make it up if you really tried.”

James Maddison, who has a calf issue, could also miss the Kosovo clash but Sterling will start a game that Southgate insists is important despite the fact England have already qualified for the Euro 2020 finals.

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And that is because he wants to finish the qualifying in the stylish manner that has been their trademark over the past year.

Southgate said: “What’s pleased me most is we’ve qualified comfortably, playing some incredible attacking football.

“People will look at the quality of some of the opponents but I think over the years, we’ve had players where the shirt has hung heavy and the performances have reflected that.

“We put out a team the other day, average age of 23, the youngest team for sixty years, young players coming in, loving playing for England, really playing with freedom, really playing with expression, thinking about what’s possible on the field rather than worrying about losing the game or what will happen in those sorts of fixtures.”

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