Manchester United prodigy Angel Gomes has attracted interest from Barcelona following his sensational performances this season.
He is just 16 years old but Gomes is already one of the most exciting young talents in world football and the star attraction for an academy that is finally starting to produce players of an exceptional calibre once again.
Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah may have broken into the first team, Axel Tuanzebe might be training with Jose Mourinho’s squad but it is Angel Gomes that has caused the most excitement at Manchester United over the past 18 months. He is the jewel in the crown at Carrington.
He joined United in May 2014 following an impressive trial with the U17’s, despite his tender age of just 13. His ability to play above his age group continued when he signed for United, making his debut for the U18’s team aged just 14. It would quickly become a theme throughout his burgeoning career as he gained national recognition and was called up to England’s U16 side at the same age.
Two years later and the interest from Barcelona is no surprise. Gomes is a talented midfield player with sensational close control and flawless technique. Combine this with his slight frame and diminutive stature and he already has the makings of a typical graduate from La Masia.
Talented enough to play almost anywhere in midfield, Gomes features regularly as a number ten or as a wide player and his ability to drift into pockets of space and play between the lines have led to plenty of comparisons with some of the best in the game; notably David Silva or even Lionel Messi.
“For me, the way he plays his football and the way he drifts around, his stature and his close control, I’m saying he is the closest thing to Lionel Messi that we are going to see in a Manchester United shirt.” – Stephen Howson on Angel Gomes for FullTimeDevils
Angel Gomes is a natural-born creator. Comfortable on the ball with an incredible range of passing, Gomes provides plenty of assists and has struck up an almost telepathic understanding with several of his teammates. The connection that has developed between Gomes, Indy Boonen, and DJ Buffonge has been a joy to watch both this season and last.
On top of his great passing ability and fantastic assists record, Gomes is blessed with a terrific first touch to go along with his eye-catching close control. Once the ball is in his possession Gomes doesn’t have to find a teammate with a pass, as he’s perfectly comfortable taking players on with a devastating combination of speed and skill. For any defender, the proposition of facing Angel Gomes is a terrifying one. He has the full repertoire in his locker; if you defend tight to him then he’s capable of going past you one versus one but if you don’t, and you sit back and defend as a unit, he’s more than capable of opening up the game with his keen eye for a pass.
As if that wasn’t enough, Gomes has also shown a penchant for goals himself. Back in August, just days before his 16th birthday, he scored a hat-trick for the U18’s as Manchester United ran out 5-1 winners over Everton. Not content with limiting himself to domestic success, Gomes took this form to the international stage as he captained England U17’s to success in the Croatia Cup a month later. Gomes score in the opening game against Croatia, as England won 5-0, before scoring the first goal against Germany after just four minutes. He then laid on two further assists for his teammates as England cruised to a mightily impressive 8-1 victory.
Young players are so often heralded as the next big thing. They perform well in the youth team, maybe get minutes out on loan or in the cup competitions and suddenly Facebook and Twitter are awash with claims that they are ready to take on the world. Spoiler alert: they rarely do.
So for that reason, players and coaches rarely endorse these young talents all that definitively, instead holding off on the praise until they truly start to fulfill their vast potential. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Angel Gomes though.
“Angel Gomes is a young talented player that we have massive hopes for.” – Academy boss Nicky Butt on Angel Gomes
“Follow the next Man Utd star, Angel!” – Former Manchester United star Nani announces his cousin’s potential
Barcelona might be interesting in signing this exceptional young player but United have no interest in letting him go. One of the most talented individuals to come through the academy in recent years, maybe more so than Morrison, Pogba or any of the Class of ’92, Angel Gomes is a star in the making and, most importantly, he’s Manchester United’s star. They’re not about to give him up that easily.