Angel Gomes has opened up about his future at Manchester United after making his debut against Crystal Palace back in May.
The 16-year-old became the youngest ever player to claim the Jimmy Murphy Youth Player of the Year award last season and was awarded with a place in the senior squad as Mourinho prepared a youthful side for the clash with Palace.
And he was handed with a moment he’d never forget during the game’s dying stages: coming on for Wayne Rooney to a standing ovation to make his Man United debut.
Speaking to MUTV, Gomes reflected on what was a truly incredible moment and looked ahead to next season under new Under 23 manager Ricky Spragia.
“That moment has been with me a long time,” he noted.
“There are times when I am sat at home and I’ll just be drifting away when I think of the game and how everything happened so quickly. It feels great to say that I am the club’s youngest Premier League player.
“To go from being a ball-boy to coming on for Wayne Rooney was amazing. What a player to come on for. Wayne Rooney is a club legend who I think will do amazing [things] at Everton. He helped me and spoke to me, when I was coming on, so it was nice.”
“I’m a Salford lad at heart. I love being from Salford. It’s where I grew up so I always say that’s where I’m from.
“My dad [Gil Gomes] played at the Under-23 World Cup and is well known in Portugal as they won it and he played with some great players as well. It’s nice to be following in his footsteps really.
“Nani is my godfather. He’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!”
“I think people forget how young I am really. Of course, it would be a great experience to get a few more minutes in the first team under my belt at some point but I’ll just try to kick on in the Under-18s and Under-23s and learn a lot of things.
“I hope to gain a lot of experience in the UEFA Youth League, for example, and the Reserves have a new coach in Ricky so it’ll be great to work under him too.”
“Last season, we played some high quality football, but didn’t end up doing the ultimate thing of winning trophies. We want to win more this season.”
Gomes became the first player born in the 21st century to play in the Premier League, coming on to play alongside fellow youngsters like Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay, Demetri Mitchell, Josh Harrop and Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the Manchester sun.
It was, while ostensibly a matter of necessity ahead of the Europa League final, an emphatic nod towards this club’s proud and unwavering legacy of giving youth a chance.
But the Englishman will need to stop looking back to that afternoon – as will any youngster hoping to inflict themselves on the first team next season – and instead place all of his focus on outgrowing the youth set-up over the next few years.