Sean Goss was signed by Manchester United from Exeter City back in the summer of 2012 for an initial fee of £100,000, according to reports by the BBC at the time. Goss, who was 16 at the time he was scouted scored 13 goals for Exeter City U16’s that season, which earned him a trial at United. He played in a youth tournament in the Netherlands, promptly joining the Academy that summer. Speaking to the official Exeter City website at the time of his signing, and joining his new teammates at the AON Training Complex in Carrington, Goss said:
“The last few days haven’t felt real – seeing all the first-team players around and the training facilities is like a different world. I can’t wait to get started now and we’ve got pre-season games coming up. I just have to continue working hard and my aim now is to just push higher and higher through the ranks.”
During the 2013/14 season, after representing the U16’s for United, Goss was promoted to the U18 side, then led by Paul McGuinness. Goss made a total of 28 appearances that season, scoring six goals and assisting a further three. Also making four appearances for the U19 side who participated in the UEFA Youth League that season, failing to score or assist a single goal. That took Goss’ total season tally to 32 appearances, six goals and three assists, which was not all that bad at that level. During the 2014/15 season, Goss was promoted to the U21 side, led by Warren Joyce, where he made 10 appearances, scored once and assisted once. His season was cut short by injury, which would be something that defined his career at United over the next few seasons. During the 2015/16 season, an injury would again cut into Goss’ season, but he managed six appearances, scoring once and assisting three other goals. In March 2016, Joyce would rule Goss out for the remainder of the season, which started with him being on the treatment table, saying:
“Obviously, Gossy has been out a while now and at a time when he was flying really as well. Injuries happen and it’s held his development up really but he’s got to come back and start to pick up the reins from where he was and kick on because he was looking an accomplished player.
“He is the type of player you are looking at in a side as being vital to the way we play. We haven’t quite got the same type of player as him. Obviously, with some of the chances people have been getting in the first team, technically wise, he might have been able to help them out as well.
“The injury is disappointing as he was on the first-team tour and it’s really frustrating for him but sometimes really bad things happen in your career and make you mentally tougher. He’s got to come through and come out the other way – that’s the aim for him.”
Goss returned from his injury this season, something he hopes to put behind him. So far, he has made three appearances for the U23’s now led by Nicky Butt, albeit temporarily after Warren Joyce left for the management position at Wigan Athletic. Goss has yet to find the back of the net for the U23’s but has assisted in a goal, something the side find hard to create after starting the season without an out-and-out striker, something which will need to be added to the team in the January transfer window. Goss is currently contracted at United until the summer of 2019, which gives him two and a half years to find his way into the first team, having been compared to Michael Carrick early into his United career. Goss shares some similarities with Carrick, which he discussed in an interview with Manchester United last season, saying:
“It’s a good thing to hear. Obviously, I look up to him as a player and I like to play like that. He has come down and trained with us and it gives you an idea of what it is like to be in the first team so you take notice of that.
“He is one of my favourite players in the first team and I do look up to him. I want to play like him as well, spreading passes, keeping the ball and trying to read the play, while getting on the ball as much as I can.”
Whilst it may be too soon to compare players to high-ranking first team players at the club, the similarities are there, they were when Goss was signed by United just over four years ago now. That being said, he has a lot of hard work ahead of him in order to find a place in Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad, but the Portuguese has previously stated that youth is something he values, despite it not looking like the case when he last managed Chelsea. Goss has some big boots to fill with Carrick, but if he continues to impress at the U23 level, maintains his place in the team, Mourinho will notice him, especially in that Carrick, being 35 now, will not play on forever.
There are suggestions, made by Mourinho himself, that he would offer Carrick a one-year contract extension before the summer, keeping him at the club for a further year, which would give Goss the time to get the managers attention by playing to his strengths and start to show that he could be a contender to replace Carrick in the first team, even play as his understudy next season, or later this season, should he warrant the chance.