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‘The best players stay level-headed’ – Gomes wants to fulfil Man Utd dream – football news

Manchester United’s Angel Gomes says he intends to remain level-headed after scoring in front of Jose Mourinho for the club’s under-23 side.

The 18 year-old, who signed his first professional contract in December, registered his third goal of the season against Stoke City’s youngsters at Old Trafford at the end of August in a game watched by the United manager, and now has an eye on adding to the two first-team appearances he made for the club.

“It’s a great club,” Gomes told ESPN FC. “Playing at Old Trafford is the dream. It’s the main aim. As long as I can carry on getting better and impressing, hopefully, in the future, I can get a chance.

“I’ve got to put that [expectation] to one side. The best players get to the top because they have stayed level-headed. I’ve got to carry on working hard and keep putting everything in to training and games.”

Gomes, who is one of the more senior players available to Under-23s boss Ricky Sbragia this season, has come through the ranks of the England youth set-up, and featured as the Under-17s won the World Cup last summer. His father, Gil, represented Portugal at Under-23 level.

In making his United debut against Crystal Palace in May 2017 aged only 16, he became the youngest player to play for the club in more than 60 years, and was included in Mourinho’s squad for the pre-season tour of the US this summer.

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“It was a great experience,” said Gomes. “Just being around the first team, seeing how they train and being able to pick up little things, it’s positive.

“Going on tour was an added bonus for the younger players. Even if you don’t get as many minutes, you’re in the manager’s eyesight and he can see how you train, how you prepare and he can compare you to the first team players. Going to the US was about trying to progress and show him what you’re capable of.”

In 2017, Gomes became the youngest player to score a hat-trick for the club’s academy side’s in 15 years.

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ISL 2018-19 can be the breakthrough season for a host of youngsters – football news

The Indian Super League (ISL) has been the perfect breeding ground for young players since its inception. If Sandesh Jhingan and Romeo Fernandes were the bright spots in the first season, Thongkhosiem Haokip and Jeje Lalpekhlua stole the spotlight in the second. Chennaiyin FC’s Jerry Lalrinzuala was the standout youngster in the third season.

In the previous ISL season, FC Pune City’s Sarthak Golui and Sahil Panwar, Kerala Blasters’ Lalruatthara and Chennaiyin FC’s Anirudh Thapa earned the plaudits for lighting up the pitch with their string of impressive performances.  

There has been a remarkable shift in the transfer policy in the Indian transfer market. While most ISL teams have been reluctant to spend big on marquee players they have not shied away from splurging the cash on future stars. While 17-year old defender Anwar Ali was snapped up by Mumbai City FC for Rs 30 lakhs, a record-breaking amount for an U-18 player, Chennaiyin were prudent enough to sign Abhijit Sarkar, Deepak Tangri and Rahim Ali. ATK have signed up Boris Singh.

All these players will only join the ISL outfits ahead of the 2019-20 season as they will continue with their development with Indian Arrows under the watchful eyes of Floyd Pinto. 

Leaving aside the U-19 players there has also been a mass exodus of promising players from several I-League clubs to ISL who are keen to make a mark in the top tier of Indian football. SK Faiaz put in impressive shifts for Mohun Bagan in I-League 2017-18 and was signed by ATK. Similarly, Sinivasan Pandiyan and Michael Soosairaj of Chennai City FC made a move for greener pastures as they were roped in by Chennaiyin FC and Jamshedpur FC.

There are several players who will be plying their trade in ISL 5 who have shown promise at various other domestic tournaments and are now ready to take that leap to establish themselves in the ISL. 

Let us look at the 10 youngsters who will be making their debut and can be expected to shine this season: 

1. SK Faiaz (ATK) 

Sk.Faiaz Mohun Bagan Churchill Brothers SC I-League 2017/2018

The 23-year-old winger had put in stellar performances for Mohun Bagan in the previous edition of I-League. Although he was predominantly used on the right wing, the Howrah-born winger was comfortable plying his trade on both flanks. He has pace to burn and the tricks up his sleeves often give the full backs a run for their money. He notched up four assists and two goals for the Maroon and Greens during the 1197 minutes he spent on the pitch. He is expected to challenge ATK’s Hitesh Sharma for a starting berth who had been a regular for Teddy Sheringham and later under Ashley Westwood. 

2. Michael Soosairaj (Jamshedpur FC) 

Soosairaj Chennai City

The former Chennai City FC attacking midfielder was one of the best players in I-League 2017-18 and has been signed by Jamshedpur FC. The Tamil Nadu born player was the midfield dynamo for the men in green and his creativity proved to be decisive in unlocking gritty opposition defences. He provided 19 successful key passes in 18 appearances which is amongst the highest in the league. His partnership with Sinivasan Pandiyan was one of the few positives for the Coimbatore based side as they finished eighth in the league table. Soosairaj should be the perfect fit for head coach Cesar Ferrando.

3. Kivi Zhimomi (North East United FC) 

Gokulam Kerala East bengal Kivi Zhimomi

Kivi Zhimomi became the first player from Nagaland to sign for an ISL outfit when he joined NorthEast United FC ahead of this season. He forged a well oiled partnership with Henry Kisekka upfront with Gokulam Kerala and found the net on two occasions which included a strike against Kolkata giants East Bengal. Under the guidance of Eelco Schattorie, Arthur Papas and Avram Grant the forward is touted to make further improvements in his game to help NEUFC secure their first play-off spot in five seasons. He has previously played for Mohammedan Sporting Club at Kolkata and Rangdajied United FC at Shillong.

4. Shubham Sarangi (Delhi Dynamos)

Shubham Sarangi Delhi Dynamos

The 18-year-old forward was signed by Delhi Dynamos in the January transfer window of 2017 and was immediately sent out on a training stint with the Aspire Academy to further his football development. He was part of the India’s preparatory squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup but the youngster ultimately did not make the cut for Luis Norton de Matos’ final squad for the marquee event. Josep Gombau’s possession-based brand of football is tailor-made for the young forward and he hopes to establish himself firmly in Delhi’s squad this season. 

5. Vignesh Dakshinamurthy (Mumbai City FC)

Vignesh Dakshinamurthy

The 20-year-old had been the midfield general for Ozone FC and was an integral figure behind the Bengaluru based side’s brilliant run in the 2nd division I-League. Vignesh has been with the national team’s age-group sides for the past three years right from his Under-17 days. He spent the first three years in the Ozone Academy and then broke into the first team, aged just seventeen. The Islanders have snapped him up as he looks to have a promising future ahead. He can play as a left-half.  

6.  Raynier Fernandes (Mumbai City)


Mumbai City have signed another promising midfielder in Raynier Fernandes who was an important cog at the centre of the park for Mohun Bagan. Fernandes, along with Yuta Kinowaki and Cameron Watson, provided stability to Bagan’s midfield and was equally confident in moving forward with the ball. He also oozes confidence as a defensive screen which allows greater freedom to his more attack-minded team-mates. The 22-year old completed 599 passes in I-league last season with an accuracy of 84% which is a testimony to his brilliant passing ability. 

7. Sairuat Kima (Bengaluru FC)

Sairuat Kima DSK Shivajians FC Aizawl FC I-League 2017

The 20-year-old defender was picked up by Jamshedpur FC in the previous edition of ISL but is yet to make a start in the league, albeit was given a start in the Super Cup tie against FC Goa. A product of Mizoram-based Chanmari FC, he made his top tier debut with DSK Shivajians in 2016-17 season. The lanky defender has joined Bengaluru FC this season where he will have to struggle for a starting place with veteran campaigners like Juanan and Albert Serran. It remains to be seen if he will make his ISL debut for Bengaluru FC.

8. Redeem Tlang (NEUFC)

Redeem Tlang Shillong Lajong FC Churchill Brothers SC I-League 2017/2018

The 23-year-old winger has become a household name in the domestic circuit for his exploits with Shillong Lajong for the last couple of seasons. He is known for his inch-perfect crosses from the flanks and also has a knack to score important goals. He has the experience to succeed at the highest level and under the guidance of master tacticians like Avram Grant and Schattorie, the youngster is set to be an important weapon in NEUFC’s armoury. 

9. Sinivasan Pandiyan (Chennaiyin FC)

Sinivasan Pandiyan; Chennai City

Sinivasan Pandiyan joined Chennaiyin FC at the back of an impressive season with Chennai City FC in I-League. His exceptional passing ability kept Chennai’s midfield ticking. With 86 per cent success rate in ball distribution, he was one of the orchestrators at the centre of the park for V Soundararajan. He now has to step up to the plate and impress coach John Gregory who is known to demand huge workrate from his players. 

10. Jithin MS (Kerala Blasters)

Jithin MS Kerala Santosh Trophy 2018

Jithin MS scripted history Kerala Blasters paid Rs. 5 lakh as a transfer fee to Kerala FC to sign him on a three-year deal. The Thrissur-born player was lethal in the attacking third for Kerala state team in the Santosh Trophy and was the joint top scorer in the tournament. His goalmouth exploits helped Kerala lift the trophy after 14 years as they beat West Bengal in Kolkata. Although it will not be easy for Jithin to break into the starting XI from the onset, but he has the firepower to make an impact in the ISL.

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Man Utd academy update: Goal-getters Gomes and Greenwood off to great start – football news

When Manchester United’s teamsheet for the 2-0 win over Burnley on Sunday included Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba in the starting XI and Marcus Rashford among the substitutes, it was the 3,926th consecutive occasion on which they had named at least one academy graduate in their lineup stretching back almost 81 years.

It is a record the club is rightly proud of, showing that their commitment to developing players dates back to long before the famed ‘Class of 92’.

Pogba may well continue to divide opinion after his missed penalty at Turf Moor, but Lingard was a constant thorn in Burnley’s side. Meanwhile, it was an educational afternoon for Rashford, who came on as a second-half sub only to be sent off within 10 minutes for a petulant, retaliatory head-push on David Bardsley.

Below the first team, though, United continue to thrive, with a number of players catching the eye in the early part of the season at under-23 and under-18 levels…


Angel Gomes Manchester United

Ricky Sbragia’s reserve side are unbeaten so far in 2018-19 having made the drop to Division Two of Premier League 2 after a disappointing season last term.

Whereas the under-23s struggled for goals 12 months ago due to a high turnover of players, this time around they have started well in front of goal. The highlight has been Angel Gomes’ first three goals at this level following his promotion towards the end of last season, while fellow US tour inclusion Tahith Chong joined him on the scoresheet in the opening 2-2 draw at Derby.

Attacking midfielder DJ Buffonge has also started the season on the right foot with two goals, while 17-year-old Jimmy Garner has not looked out of place after making the step up from the under-18s.

The central midfielder, who started for Jose Mourinho’s first team against the San Jose Earthquakes in July and then came on as a late sub in the win over Real Madrid, has shown a maturity in the centre of the park which belies his speedy elevation to reserve-team football.

At the back, the return of Regan Poole from a year-long loan at Northampton to play alongside Ro-Shaun Williams has made Sbragia’s outfit a far more solid unit than they appeared at times in their relegation campaign last time around, while Lee O’Connor’s excellent progress continues to catch the eye at left-back.

Friday’s 1-0 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford, secured by Gomes’ first-half strike, whet the appetite for another appearance at the Theatre of Dreams, with Reading visiting on September 14 in United’s next under-23 fixture.


Mason Greenwood Manchester United England

Just as the under-23s sit in fourth place after four games, so too do Neil Ryan’s under-18 side after suffering their first defeat of the campaign at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Prior to that 3-1 reverse, the youngsters had been in fine form despite having been pegged back three times on the opening day in a 3-3 draw with Derby County.

Mason Greenwood, who scored twice in that game, netted one in each of the following victories against Liverpool (3-1) and Stoke City (5-1) to take his early tally to four following his 17-goal season in 2017-18, although he did fail to hit the mark from the penalty spot against both Derby and Stoke.

The win over the Potters at The Cliff featured a stunning full debut in the under-18 age group for Charlie McCann. Coming off the left of the attack, the 16-year-old addition from Coventry City netted twice in the one-sided result, including one effort inside four minutes when bamboozling the Stoke back line.

Later in the same game, Warrington-born Mark Helm came off the bench for his first 10 minutes of football in a United under-18s fixture and netted United’s fifth.

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One player worthy of particular note so far this season has been Arnau Puigmal. The Spanish midfielder has been switched to right-back by Neil Ryan and has taken to the role superbly for the most part.

His driving runs on the overlap were a particular threat against Stoke, while on Saturday at Middlesbrough he netted United’s only goal.

United appear to be in good hands at this level under Ryan, who replaced Kieran McKenna as coach this summer following the Northern Irishman’s elevation to first-team coach.

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