Angel Gomes should turn to the greats of the past to make his Manchester United dream come true


Three years ago, Angel Gomes became the youngest debutant for Manchester United since the great Duncan Edwards in 1953.

The Londoner was 16 when Reds manager Jose Mourinho kicked him out of the bench to replace Wayne Rooney in the last game of the 2016-17 season, a dead rubber against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Like many products from the legendary United Academy, much was expected of the young offensive midfielder.

However, three years later, Gomes, who is also eligible to represent Angola and Portugal, failed to win the first team photo at United.

He signed his first professional contract in December 2017, but was hardly used by Mourinho; a fact not too surprising given the reluctance of the Portuguese to regularly use younger players.

Gomes was therefore to be delighted when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Mourinho in the harness of Old Trafford a week before Christmas 2018.

There was every reason to believe that the Norwegian would focus on the youth of United, striker Mason Greenwood getting involved early in Solskjaer’s tenure, as was left-back Brandon Williams and, to a lesser extent, Tahith Chong.

A few months ago, Chong is reportedly in talks with Inter Milan for a free transfer to Italy later this summer.

The rumor was put to bed, however, when the Dutch prospect signed a new deal that will keep him at United until 2022.

The same cannot be said of Gomes, who has started three Europa League games this season, but will soon be out of contract.

Angel Gomes may be leaving Old Trafford

The MEN revealed that Gomes had rejected a first deal to stay at Old Trafford due to doubts about his chances of playing at the club.

Chelsea have been linked to him, a move that has been questioned by experts, given that the Blues boss Frank Lampard has promoted players to their academy and the arrival of Gomes would potentially block the way for the one of their young.

Gomes, the only senior United academy graduate who has yet to join the club, still has time on his side if he decides to stay on the red side of Manchester.

A natural number 10, with rhythm and a range of passes in abundance, no doubt of its quality.

But he failed to usurp similar players in Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, both of whom have been below par for a long time, when he surely watched in dismay in January when United rushed to sign the perfect number 10 to Bruno Fernandes.

Gomes is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the end of August and may be well advised to look at other people who have made it to Old Trafford after patiently waiting for their time.

In fact, all he has to do is take a look at teammate Scott McTominay, who had to wait until he was 20 to make his first start with United in the Crystal Palace game mentioned above.

The Scottish central midfielder has established himself as a key member of the Solskjaer squad.

Perhaps his most notable moment came in United’s last game before the end of the season when he scored his second goal, shooting an empty net 40 yards away as they recorded a home win 2- 0 against Manchester City.

English midfielder Jesse Lingard was 22 when he made his competitive debut with Louis van Gaal in the Dutch manager’s first game, a 2-1 home loss to Swansea City in the opening campaign game 2014-2015.

And, while all of the teacup supporters, Lingard, who scored the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final, had an impact on United, with van Gaal, Mourinho and Solskjaer all selecting him regularly.

Paul Scholes, arguably one of United’s biggest players, did not feature prominently on the first team until the age of 21, while superstar David Beckham was 20 when Sir Alex Ferguson told him gave an extended run.

Then there is John O’Shea, who made his debut at age 17, but had to wait until the 2002-2003 season, then aged 21, to make his mark.

The Irishman remained at United until his move to Sunderland in 2011, but won all national trophies – as well as the Champions League – during his time at the club.

For each Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, who became full members of the first team as a teenager, there is a Scholes, a Beckham and an O’Shea.

Gomes may seek to remove a sheet from his book. After all, what better place for a young player to show his talent than at Manchester United?


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