Steve Avory hails Joe Gomez and Ezri Konsa


"To have two ex-Charlton players who have come through our academy system in Gareth Southgate’s senior squad, just before the European Championships, is a great achievement," says Academy Director Steve Avory.

Avory is, of course, referring to Addicks academy graduates Joe Gomez and Ezri Konsa, who are both part of England's 23-man party for Wembley friendlies against Brazil and Belgium on Saturday and Tuesday.

“I feel proud for everybody here really because we have two lads in the England squad that came through our system," he continues. "I’ll be even prouder when I'm at Wembley on Tuesday if both of them appear on the pitch - that would be fantastic. I’ll also be delighted for either of them or both of them if they play against Brazil on Saturday."

Gomez, who returns to Southgate's squad for the first time since 2020 following an impressive campaign with Liverpool, has already earned 11 caps for the Three Lions, while Konsa will be hoping to make his international debut during what is his second senior camp with England.

Recalling the duo's journeys through the club's esteemed academy, Avory explains: “There's a slight difference in terms of age groups. For example, when Ezri was an U16, Joe would've been an U17. There’s only actually five months in terms of difference of age - Joe's that little bit older - and they were both challenged by going into older age groups.

“You just realise that you've got two very talented defenders, who we were looking for in terms of their profile, being able to play as centre-backs or anywhere across the back line. They were both at the time playing centre-back when they came through the system here.

"There were slight differences between the two of them in terms of their character, for sure," he adds. "Ezri always looked very technically accomplished as a player, because as a schoolboy he played a lot in midfield, more so than Joe did.

"Joe's always been someone who played in that back four. Both of them were high quality players at the elite level of youth football and of course both of them did get into the England U18s, and Ezri became a World Cup winner."

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club's academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

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