Angel Gomes quit Man Utd last year having been tipped to become a first team star but is now starring in the Champions League and Ligue 1 with Lille – and has now set his eyes to England Under 21 duty
Ex-Manchester United wonderkid Angel Gomes has been backed to reach the top after winning an England U21 call up.
The Lille star, 21, quit Old Trafford in August last year, signing a five year deal in France including spending last season at Boavista, and he’s now a regular in the Champions League.
Young Lions coach Lee Carsley is poised to give him his first U21 cap against Slovenia or Andorra – and says he was as good as Manchester contemporaries Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz.
Gomes made his Man U debut at 16 years 263 days – the youngest since Duncan Edwards in 1953, and was the first player born in the 2000s to play in the Premier League.
His path to the top stalled and is now on the up again, with Carsley saying: “I first coached the City team against United in the 18s. He’d have been up against Phil, Jadon, Brahim, who are at that level with Angel.
“He was more than holding his own and it was very noticeable he was an outstanding player.
“When you think of Phil, Jadon, they all go on different journeys to get to this point.
“It shows a lot about his character and mentality that he has left Man U, which I imagine was a difficult decision, gone to Lille, sent straight on loan, done really well on loan, gone back and now playing in the Champions League.
“The big thing for us is to support and understand the journey these players are on. It was a good phone call to say congrats you are coming in with the U21s.”
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Carsley says Gomes is the latest young England star to progress by moving abroad, and seeing different systems.
He added: “It is about playing in different countries but also for different coaches. I see Angel playing for Lille in the Champions League in a wide position but being really defensive and keeping his shape and making sure he is narrow, and pressing at the right times.
“You probably wouldn’t associate Angel with doing that because he is very attacking, wants to get on the ball, and wants to go forwards. It is important they learn different styles and disciplines. Ultimately you want to be pickable, the player the manager wants to play. The more experiences you have are strings to your bow.
“The way he receives the ball, the way he runs with the ball, he has exceptional balance, he is very strong for someone of his size.”
England’s kids have been told they must serve their time with the U21s to earn a senior call up.
Carsley said: “We always knew we would have a period now where hopefully we would get players who are getting four, five, six, seven, eight, nine U21 caps and then going through to a tournament.
“I don’t think that should affect the motivation or the determination to play or represent England.
“We get highly motivated players who are turning up and hopefully pushing the senior players, because ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do.