Manchester United youngster Angel Gomes made his debut for the Red Devils in the season finale against Crystal Palace, in doing so becoming the youngest debutant since Duncan Edwards.
The 16-year-old entered the fray late on at Old Trafford to replace the club’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney. The appearance also means Gomes is officially the first player born after the millennium to play in the Premier League.
Gomes also recently picked up Manchester United’s Youth Team Player of the Year award, but just who is the highly-rated attacking-midfielder?
The 16-year-old is the cousin of former Old Trafford star Nani, and both the Portuguese star and United reserve coach Nicky Butt have heaped praise on Gomes’ talented shoulders in the past.
Here’s everything you need to know about United’s next big thing:
He comes from a footballing family – his father was a journeyman who played all over the world, his older brother was also on United’s books… oh, and his cousin is Luis Nani, who made 230 appearances for the club over a hugely successful eight years.
This week is perhaps the biggest of Gomes’ career as he catapults himself into the public’s consciousness, picking up a prestigious trophy at the club’s end-of-season awards night.
He is the Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year, becoming the first 16-year-old to win it in the award’s 27-year history. Impressed yet?
Previous winners are Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, so he certainly has big boots to fill.
He is a leader on the pitch as well as a goalscorer; 12 goals in 19 starts for the academy has helped him become captain of England Under 17s. If it were not for injury, he would be at the European Championship finals right now.
He has been in fine form for both club and country, and he captains England’s Under 17 side
Thursday night was the first time Gomes has been propelled into the public’s consciousness
WHO IS GOMES?
Name: Angel Gomes
Date of Birth: 31 August, 2000
Joined United: 2013
Position: Attacking midfielder
This season: 12 goals in 19 starts
Nani took to Instagram on Thursday evening to share his pride – ‘Congratulations, my kid, you’re on the right track!’ – but it is an older picture of he and Gomes that is perhaps the most impressive.
Standing at the Carrington training ground, a smile pinned to his face, a very young Gomes stands between Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He is United through and through, and next season could be even bigger for him. The 16-year-old is eligible for another season in the youth team, but with Jose Mourinho in attendance on Thursday, there is certainly a conversation to be held.
He may be ready for a loan spell away from Old Trafford, a chance to gain first-team minutes in a competitive environment. Or perhaps he will join Mourinho’s first-team for a training session or two.
An amazing old photo shows a young Gomes standing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani
Gomes’ cousin is Nani, who spent a hugely successful eight years at Manchester United
Gomes became the youngest ever winner of the Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year award on Thursday. Here are the previous youngest recipients…
Angel Gomes (2017) – 16 yrs 9 months
Mats Daehli (2012) – 17 yrs 2 months
Will Keane (2010) – 17 yrs 4 months
Phil Neville (1994) – 17 yrs 4 months
Axel Tuanzebe (2015) – 17 yrs 6 months
Ryan Giggs (1991) – 17 yrs 6 months
It is still early days, with plenty of hurdles still to face, but Gomes could well be the club’s next Marcus Rashford.
Many have said he does not have the stature to make it at the highest level. He is too short and will get pushed off the ball.
In response, Gomes posted a picture of perhaps the greatest ever – Lionel Messi. ‘Too small to play, they said… the rest is history.’ That’s that settled, then.
‘It’s ridiculous,’ Nicky Butt said of Gomes’ talent. ‘I look at the kids and they’re miles better than I was at their age – technically. Angel Gomes is someone we’ve got massive hopes for.’
Over to you, Angel. The stage is set.