CLAUDIO Gomes says he will never forget this season no matter what happens and is happy to be the on-pitch translator for Barnsley’s French contingent.
The Reds hosted Stoke City on Tuesday, the same team that Gomes – a 21-year-old on loan from Manchester City – played his second game for them against in September.
At that point, he had never started a senior league game but has been a regular in the relegation-battling team.
Asked how he has changed in the six months between the Stoke games, he told the Chronicle: “I have got more experience now. That was one of my first games. I didn’t know how the Championship was before but now I have more confidence. The pace and the physicality was a shock, and the rhythm of the game. I came from the under 23s at Man City to one of the toughest leagues in the world and it wasn’t easy. But now I have found my rhythm.
“I will never forget this season, it is my first season in the senior football in a difficult league. I learn a lot every day in training and games. I came here to help the team but the big achievement is to stay in the league.”
He added: “It’s a good season because I’ve played a lot. But in terms of the results I am not happy, the same as everyone in the dressing room.
“I want to play at the highest level possible and I think the Championship is a good step for me. I just want to play the maximum games I can and, after this season, I will be proud of me.”
Gomes is one of a handful of French-speaking players at Oakwell which also includes Remy Vita, Amine Bassi, Aaron Leya Iseka and Will Hondermarck.
Bassi cannot speak English while Vita and Iseka are far from fluent.
Gomes, who speaks good English, said: “I sometimes have to translate with Amine, even on the pitch. He came not a long time ago and he has to learn English. I try to help him. In football you don’t have to speak the same language, everything is about mentality and quality and he has both of them.
“It is good to have French players here. We speak a bit of French. But we are in England and have to speak English as well so everyone in the dressing room can understand. It is easy sometimes to speak with the French players but we speak to everyone.”
Barnsley play two home games this week and Gomes knows the support of the Oakwell faithful will be vital.
“We know the fans are behind us even in a difficult time. We have to keep playing with heart when we play at home. They come to watch a football game and want us to win. We have to give them some points and good football as well.”
Asked what new signings Bassi and Domingos Quina had brought to the team, Gomes said: “A lot of energy. They are good players with quality and skills. They have shown they can score which is good for the team, it is easy to play with them and they have added a lot to team. I try to find both of them in games because I know they are more effective and they are dangerous in the last third.”
Gomes has played alongside Matty Wolfe recently, with the academy graduate in a more defensive role which let the Frenchman go forward.
“He has been really good. Even before he started to play, he trained well and deserved to play. He has given a good impression. He gives us some balance to be more free when we attack. He is good defensively and even offensively. It is good to play with players like him.”
Gomes said he is not thinking about his future, with Barnsley not having a clause to buy him at the end of the season. He said: “I am just thinking about keeping this team in this league. We have to give everything we have. We have the potential and quality to stay in the league and the club deserves to be in the league, they showed it last season.”