Football News

Former Man Utd wonderkid Angel Gomes has referenced Bernardo Silva as the inspiration behind his stellar season

By Ben Green

Former Man Utd wonderkid Angel Gomes explains stellar Lille season, and Bernardo Silva’s influence copy

Published: 12:36, 15 March 2023

Manchester United academy graduate Angel Gomes has hit superb form in Ligue 1 with Lille this season, and he’s name-dropped Bernardo Silva as the main inspiration behind his renewed vigour.

The London-born midfielder rose to prominence at Old Trafford after starring for England in the nation’s famous U17 World Cup win in 2017. Steve Cooper’s fledgling Three Lions triumphed in India with a star-studded squad that included Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Emile Smith Rowe, Conor Gallagher, Marc Guehi, Morgan Gibbs-White and Gomes.

All eight players have gone on to flourish in one of Europe’s top five divisions following their success in Kolkata, but Gomes is the only one who failed to carve out a succesful early career in the Premier League, leaving Old Trafford in 2020 for Lille, before being immediately loaned out to Boavista in Portugal as Christophe Galtier’s men won Ligue 1 that season.

Since returning to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Gomes has had to bide his time for considerable minutes, but under Paulo Fonseca this campaign, he has become a mainstay in his starting XI. Fleet-footed with a low centre of gravity, Gomes has brought an imagination and zest to Fonseca’s side, and he is now starting to realise the early potential that saw him considered a future star back in his teenage years.

In a recent interview with French publication L’Equipe, the now 22-year-old discussed his form in Hauts-de-France — where he has started 25 of the club’s 27 Ligue 1 games this season — and even referenced a certain Manchester City star, Silva, when analysing his own game.

Gomes said: “The most important thing is to play, for me. It’s important to be able to play in different positions, to be comfortable there.

“I work a lot in training but I also watch a lot of videos, of myself and other players who play in these positions.

“I feel comfortable playing in midfield or more attacking positions, I don’t really have a preference, as long as I’m playing and having fun.”

On who he takes inspiration from, Gomes commented: “Lots of different players. But for me, the best in this position is Bernardo Silva (Manchester City).

“I first look at his presence, he looks a bit like me in size. And when he plays, he has an incredible presence. He’s everywhere on the pitch, he’s brave, he doesn’t hide and always makes himself available to his team.

“He’s a great player, who deserves a lot of credit for what he does with and without the ball.”

Gomes was once likened to Paul Scholes by Man Utd graduate Danny Webber, while Nani tipped the diminutive maestro to be the club’s next star. Although things didn’t quite work out for Gomes at Old Trafford, he is now starting to make a name for himself in his own right.