Juan Mata was a controversial choice to start for United at home to Norwich.
And Mata did well. He provided two assists in a 4-0 win, rolling back the clock to show what he is capable of.
But you do wonder, whether this is a game United will look back and view as a missed opportunity to start Angel Gomes.
Norwich were poor, and United had enough firepower to win handsomely without Mata.
Gomes came off the bench for the last 10 minutes and had very little opportunity to show what he can do. But he still managed to shine.
The teenager touched the ball seven times, and managed to create two chances – Whoscored.com data shows.
This was as many chances as Mata managed in 90 minutes. The difference was United’s attackers converted the opportunities and the Spaniard ended the game with two assists.
This was a promising cameo from Gomes and he could barely have done more with his short time on the pitch.
Gomes came off the bench against City in midweek and won the ball back to instigate a United attack for Marcus Rashford’s goal.
We would be less anxious about Gomes’ playing time if he had signed a new contract. As it stands, his deal is set to expire at the end of the season.
It is encouraging that Gomes is getting playing time at the moment, having not played a single minute in December.
United are in talks to sign Bruno Fernandes from Sporting, according to Sky Sports.
While this is an absolutely crucial deal for United to close, it won’t help Gomes’ chance of game time.
That is why the Norwich game may have been a missed chance to get a proper look at Gomes.
United could do with sending him out on loan, this season or next, but that can’t happen unless he signs a new contract.
His short performance showed his quality is unmistakable. It was a small step in the right direction.
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