Barnsley FC midfielder Claudio Gomes cites N'Golo Kante as his inspiration

IT WILL probably come as no surprise regarding the identity of the player who Barnsley loan midfielder Claudio Gomes looks up to and considers to be his hero.

Claudio Gomes, pictured when he joined Barnsley FC. Photo courtesy of BFC.

A diminutive enforcer in the middle of the park whose ability to claim possession has few peers in world football, Chelsea and France icon N’Golo Kante - is viewed to be the best defensive midfielder in the world by most observers - is the player who Gomes admires the most and with very good reason.

Kante, like Gomes, is a Parisian. Along their birthplace, Gomes possesses a similar stature to his feted compatriot and the same role in a football team. But that is where the similarity ends, with Kante at the peak of his profession and Gomes just starting out on his own journey.

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Still, it is no bad thing to draw inspiration and look up to someone and strive to be like them one day.

Gomes said: “I try to watch a lot of midfielders from top clubs. I have some heroes and I’d say it’s Kante. You just watch him and other players to see how you can improve and take some points off them.

“We are both from Paris, although not from the same area. It was hard playing football there (at Paris Saint-Germain as a junior) and you had to train hard to improve. But it was a good time there and it helped me a lot to be the player I am today.”

Signed on a season-long loan from Manchester City, Gomes has shown flashes of his talent in his time at Oakwell and describes himself as a hungry player who loves a tackle.

By his own admission, he is learning on the job at a ferociously competitive and unforgiving level, and while it is a tough school being a Barnsley player at the minute, his enthusiasm for the task in hand is strong and genuine. Whatever transpires this season, you sense that Gomes will be a more well-rounded player by the end of it.

It is hard going, but Gomes is enjoying it - with Championship football far removed from the safety of life on the comfortable academy circuit.

The 21-year-old is happy to be where he is.

“When you play in the midfield in England, you have to win some tackles and duels and jump and tackle. I like that, to be honest," Gomes continued.

“I am enjoying it with players, fans and everyone. It is a good time for me.

“The results have not been good, but we have to keep pushing and keep enjoying to play and working.

“I will remember the Derby night forever, for sure. It was a good feeling with everyone, fans, coaches and team-mates. It was a good night and we need more.

“In football, if you want to win, you have to fight, it is not easy. You have to fight in every game and training session - at the top and bottom of the table.

“A team and a club have to be as one.”