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Rise To Fame: Angel Gomes; Manchester United’s young debutant

Angel Gomes is one of the most exciting players at Manchester United at this moment in time. The 16-year-old has been playing in the U18’s for the last two seasons, show his ability and despite his age, he is already at a level whereby if he keeps working hard, he will be rewarded with a first team place under Jose Mourinho. Gomes made his United debut in the Premier League in the last match of the season, a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, a match which also saw the debuts of Joel Pereira (full), Demetri Mitchell, Scott McTominay (full), and Josh Harrop. Gomes replaced Wayne Rooney in the 88th minute, playing the remainder of the match including stoppage time. Whilst Gomes did not get to show his stuff, which he has consistently shown whilst playing for the U18’s this season, he did well on his Old Trafford debut, showing a glimpse of what the future could look like at United.

During the last three seasons, Gomes has played 40 times for the U18’s (29 starts and 11 substitute appearances). The 16-year-old has scored a total of 15 goals, three in the 2015/16 season, 12 in the 2016/17 season, also assisting 12 times, six in each of the aforementioned seasons. During the 2014/15 season, Gomes made one appearance for the U18’s, from the bench, which gave him a taste of what to expect the following season, which was not a good one for the U18’s then led by Paul McGuinness. During that 2015/16 season, the side lost 12 straight U18 Premier League matches, sinking to new lows which resulted in McGuinness leaving the club, replaced by former Tottenham Hotspur coach Kieran McKenna, who changed the tide during the last season, turning a team which regularly lost during the previous season, to a team which won the majority of their matches, playing some good football and scoring goals aplenty, Gomes being involved in that.

Gomes has all the ingredients to make a success of himself at the Old Trafford club, which could see another player rise through the ranks at the club, just like the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville, amongst others. The England youth international is a player who at his current age group, can set the world alight, turning on a sixpence and creating something out of nothing. The class which has been added to the U18’s over the last season really has helped Gomes find his feet and aim for the stars. The likes of Tahith Chong, Joshua Bohui, Indy Boonen, DJ Buffonge, some of them at the club during that first full season for Gomes which saw many defeats, showing the U18’s what it is like to be defeated, a key thing to experience for anyone who wants to become a winner – you need to learn to lose and appreciate it, using it to steer you clear of that, aiming for victory, what any footballer would want to do.

The coming season could be an important one for Gomes, he will continue to excel in the U18’s, being eligible for the next season (with him turning 19 in August 2018), meaning it may be time to start giving him matches in the U23 age group which will be an experience for him, something which could help him on his rise to the top of the game, which is where I am sure he would like to find himself at a point in his career. With United earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, after winning the UEFA Europa League, the club will be added to the UEFA Youth League, a competition they last played in during the 2014/15 season, the last time they played in the Champions League. Gomes will then be pitted against some of the top clubs in the U19 age group in Europe, which will give him an added experience, one which he will have seen playing in tournaments during the summer, but this will be so much different.

Gomes will be tipped for the top by many, but caution will need to be adopted as we have seen so many players come through the Academy with high prospects, not actually reaching their potential, Adnan Januzaj for instance, his time at United was great in the youth ranks, making that step up to the first team under David Moyes in the 2013/14 season, then starting his fall from grace the following season, still seemingly in free fall at this moment in time. I am not saying Gomes will end up like Januzaj or any of the other players with great prospects to come through the various age groups at United, but caution needs to be adopted, as not all things tend to go to plan. Gomes seems to be doing everything he can at this moment in time and is still heading in the right direction. His full debut at the end of the last season will reward him for his progress thus far and should inspire him for more to come in the future.

I don’t think we have all seen or heard enough about Angel Gomes and we will certainly see a lot more of him in the weeks, months and years ahead.

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