On a night when Manchester United’s Champions League campaign got off to a disastrous start, one of the club’s former academy stars was making his debut in Europe’s top club competition.
Angel Gomes played 73 minutes of Lille’s 0-0 stalemate against Wolfsburg before being substituted.
The 21-year-old returned to his parent club this summer after spending a year on loan with Portuguese side Boavista last season, where he scored six goals and registered six assists from 32 appearances (Transfermarkt).
How did his Champions League debut go?
The youngster has started Lille’s last three matches and he has been playing on the left-wing, a position where he made his European debut for United against Astana.
Gomes is yet to complete the full 90 minutes in any of the games he has started, or register a goal or an assist as of yet.
But he did make a telling contribution on his Champions League debut. In the second half, Gomes won the ball on the left touchline and played a perfectly weighted long ball into Jonathan Ikone.
Ikone headed the ball down to Jonathan David who slotted home and looked to have given his side the lead.
However, although Gomes won the ball, he was unable to stop it from going over the line. VAR overturned the goal and the game restarted with a Wolfsburg throw in.
Last season’s Ligue 1 champions haven’t hit the ground running this season. They currently sit 12th and are already 10 points behind Paris Saint Germain.
It was always going to be difficult for Lille to replicate last season’s heroics, they have lost key players Boubakary Soumare, Mike Maignan and Luiz Araujo, as well as title winning manager Christopher Galtier.
Renato Sanches is currently injured, so Angel Gomes is coming into an unsettled side that is going through yet another transitional stage after cashing in on some of their star men.
Was Angel Gomes right to leave United?
Gomes left United at a time when his route to regular first team football at Old Trafford looked unlikely especially after his beloved boyhood club signed Bruno Fernandes six months prior to his departure.
Since Gomes has left, United have signed Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Jesse Lingard returning from a fruitful loan spell at West Ham.
They are additional players Gomes would have been directly competing against just to get in the first team squad let alone on the pitch.
And with the likes of Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejbri and Anthony Elanga knocking on the fist team door, the blend of youth and experience Solskjaer has to choose from would have made Gomes’ path to becoming a regular starter that much tougher.
Gomes made the brave decision to leave United because he wanted to pursue first team football and so far it looks like his bold decision has paid off.
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