New England U21 starlet Angel Gomes insists he never doubted himself after leaving Manchester United for Lille… but admits ‘leaving home was the most difficult thing’
Angel Gomes insisted he had to forget any Manchester United heartbreak to succeed at Lille.
The 21-year-old has earned his first England Under-21 call-up for the Euro 2023 qualifiers with Slovenia and Andorra following his form in France.
He joined Lille in 2020 after leaving Old Trafford at the end of his contract and spent last season on loan at Boavista, scoring six goals in 30 appearances.
Angel Gomes could make his England Under-21 debut after winning his first Young Lions cap
The 21-year-old won the Under-17 World Cup with England in 2017 while at Manchester United
Attacking midfielder Gomes has played eight times for Lille, last season’s Ligue 1 champions, this term and admitted he needed to move on quickly from United.
‘I wouldn’t say I doubted myself, but there were times when you’d get upset and think back. In football there is no time for that,’ he said.
‘You are leaving your home and that was the most difficult thing, knowing you are not going to be there any more.
‘For me it was getting it out of your head and seeing the new challenge in front and tackling that.
Gomes joined United aged six and spend a decade through the club’s youth system
Gomes made his first team debut for United in May 2017 when he replaced Wayne Rooney
‘Leaving the club you have grown up at and have been raised at is always difficult. There was a lot of pressure and a lot of negativity which came from that.
‘It’s my job as a professional and a young player to be able to deal with that and continue doing what I’ve been raised to do – which is play football.
‘My main focus was to show that on the pitch and leave the media and other things which come with it to the side.”
Gomes was the first player born in the 21st century to play in the Premier League and was the youngest United player since Duncan Edwards in 1953 to make his debut when he played against Crystal Palace aged 16 years and 263 days in May 2017.
Gomes captained England to Under-17 World Cup glory in 2017 as England beat Spain 5-2
He also won the Under-17 World Cup with England four years ago and has been called up by Under-21 boss Lee Carsley for Thursday’s Group G trip to Slovenia before Monday’s game in Andorra.
Gomes said: ‘The standards and the quality has always been there. I have played with these guys from 15 or 16 and we have always had the drive to be in the position we are in now.
‘When I have been around the guys I always expected this to happen. We always predicted this and we wanted this.
‘To be back is amazing and to have the opportunity is something I have been working on for the last couple of years.’