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Angel Gomes needs to be afforded time in the Manchester United first team this season

On Sunday 21 May 2017 aged 16 years and 263 days, Angel Gomes made his Manchester United debut replacing Wayne Rooney in a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the final Premier League match of the 2016/17 season – playing two minutes plus added time. He was the youngest player since Duncan Edwards to make his first team debut for the club.

At that particular time, United supporters had high hopes for the player, seemingly getting ahead of themselves, assuming that Jose Mourinho, the manager at the time, would give him minutes in the team the following season. The academy graduate played two minutes in a 4-0 Emirates FA Cup victory over Yeovil Town in January 2018, not featuring again that season.

In fact, Gomes did not feature for United again under Mourinho, who was sacked in December 2018 after a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced the Portuguese manager days later and game Gomes two opportunities to shine; nine minutes in the 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town and 16 minutes in the 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City on the final day of the 2018/19 season, ending a frustrating season.

The expectations of Gomes reduced slightly last season, which was the best for the player as the pressure in achieving at United is intense and has, in the past, become a reason for many young players not making the grade to play for the club. Gomes has the talent and needs to be afforded the time in order to grow as a player, both physically and in stature.

During the clubs pre-season tour, which saw them face Perth Glory and Leeds United in Australia, Inter Milan in Singapore, Tottenham Hostpur in China, Kristiansund in Norway and AC Milan in Wales, Gomes was part of Solskjaer’s plans and given chances to show that he is both able and capable to play for United’s first team. I think he succeeded in both.

Gomes played 145 minutes of football in pre-season; playing 45 minutes against Perth Glory, Leeds United and Spurs, also playing a total of ten minutes against both Milan teams. Gomes scored the winning goal against Spurs, his first goal for the first team – a confidence booster if you will. It was his performance in the cameo against AC Milan which gained attention.

Despite playing only eight minutes at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Gomes excited the crowd with his ability. He used his skill and touch to turn away from three Milan defenders, on social media, supporters were calling for the teenager to be given more playing time this season, with Chelsea on the horizon in the Premier League on Sunday.

On Tuesday evening, Gomes played in United’s first Leasing.com Trophy match, beating Rotherham United 2-0 with goals from Ethan Laird and Largie Ramazani. Gomes was running things in the number ten position, also captaining the team. Granted, it might mean that he will not start on Sunday, especially if he’s involved in Friday’s Premier League 2 match against West Bromwich Albion.

That said, Gomes will get minutes in the first team this season, that should almost be a guarantee as Solskjaer looks to add the drive, hunger and determination to get his squad succeeding. After a largely positive pre-season, winning all six matches, albeit one on penalties. there should be a lot of positivity heading into the new season for the players, the supporters and the manager.

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