Man Utd starlet Angel Gomes is a former ball boy who has been getting advice from his godfather… Nani

0
37


ANGEL GOMES was always going to end up a footballer.

The Manchester United prodigy has been getting expert advice from the day he was born.

Getty – Contributor

Teenager Angel Gomes is one of the biggest prospects in the Manchester United youth system[/caption]

The forward has been at United since he was six – and former United star Nani is his godfather

That’s because the London-born starlet, 18, can count on a father who was a semi-pro – and a godfather who has won the Premier League four times, the Champions League and the European Championships.

Gomes’ father Gil had been a youth star in Portugal, where he helped his nation win the Under-23 World Cup in 1991, playing in the top flight sporadically before becoming a journeyman in his later years.

Gil played in Switzerland the US and Italy before moving to London in 2000.

It was while playing for Hendon that Angel was born, but the club were soon moving North, with the elder Gomes having spells at Middlewich Town, Salford City and Hyde United.

During his time in the North West, Gil became friendly with Manchester United star Nani, who was busy thrilling Old Trafford on the wing with his dazzling footwork and important goals.

Nani would become Angel Gomes’ godfather.

Speaking in 2017, the younger Gomes said: “[Nani]’s been amazing to me and gives me lots of advice.

“I am just lucky to have someone like that in my life. When I was younger, he used to be my idol.

“I used to watch him and even practice his backflips on the trampoline.

“I know I can’t do that now!”

Angel Gomes, a former United ball boy, poses with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani

AFP or licensors

He has now made four appearances for the senior side and has a big future ahead[/caption]

Gomes joined Manchester United at just six and has been one of their biggest prospects ever since.

By age 14 he was already playing for the Under-17s and later made an appearance for the Under-18s.

A former ball boy, Gomes made his first-team debut as a sub in the final game of the 2016-17 season – at 16 years and 263 days, he became the youngest Manchester United player since 1953.

His appearance also made him the first player born in the 21st Century to play in the Premier League.

“To go from being a ball-boy to coming on for Wayne Rooney was amazing. What a player to come on for,” he said about the game.

“Wayne Rooney is a club legend… He helped me and spoke to me, when I was coming on, so it was nice.”

Five months later, the forward was part of the brilliant England Under-17 squad that won the World Cup in India, coming on as a late sub in the final.

Gomes has played another three games for Manchester United since his debut, including two brief appearances this season.

Standing at a very slight 5ft 5in, Gomes doesn’t have traditional size but he is all pace, tricks and low centre of gravity.

Gomes, who scored eight goals and added five assists in the Premier League 2 and Uefa Youth League this season, plays mostly in a No10 role but can easily play on the left or right.

He loves dropping into pockets of space in between the lines and picking the ball up on the half turn – his vision to slide through passes is exceptional at youth level.

Gomes likes to be at the centre of play and has no problem trying to embarrass his markers with fancy flicks and tricks, just like Nani was doing a decade ago.

Along with Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood, Gomes has more than enough enough talent to make it at the Premier League level.

Gomes with Wayne Rooney – who he would later come on for to make his debut

Getty Images – Getty

Gomes became the youngest Man Utd player since Duncan Edwards in 1953 when he made his debut[/caption]

There have been complaints about his size and strength and at the elite level that could pose a problem, the pace, power and athleticism of Premier League defenders is a giant leap from those he is facing now.

But Gomes has been undersized throughout his life and has always had to face off with bigger and meaner defenders.

It’s why he’s had to develop such a deep bag of tricks to find space on the pitch.

But it may not all be rosy at Old Trafford.

There are reports that Gomes was disappointed with his lack of first-team action last season – he played just 25 minutes – and may look for a move and more opportunities.

The success of Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund has opened the eyes of many young players stuck on the outside of Premier League squads.

Such is his quality that Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are already keeping a very keen eye on the teenager.

But United are desperate to keep Gomes, whose contract runs out at the end of next season, and hope the 18-year-old will stay patient and wait for a chance at Old Trafford.

Speaking at the end of the season, Solskjaer said he was undecided about whether to loan out his young stars – before hinting that Gomes, Chong, Greenwood and Co could get a chance next year.


“I have to say it would be nice for them to have a full season somewhere and play,” Solskjaer told MUTV. “But then again, maybe the best place for them would be here.

“When you train with the best players of the world in this environment, we’ve got a history of making them the best.

“But we’ve got loads of examples of players being out for a year on loan and coming back men.

“So let’s see what we decide with these boys but I can see most of them staying here and getting chances next season.”

AFP or licensors

Angel Gomes made two appearances for United this season but is said to be unhappy with a lack of chances[/caption]

Getty – Contributor

Angel Gomes has been tracked by PSG and Barcelona according to reports[/caption]

Anthony Upton for FA

Gomes helped England win the U17 World Cup in 2017, coming on in the final[/caption]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here