As Wayne Rooney walked off the Old Trafford pitch for the last time as a Manchester United player, there was a small smile and a quick embrace for the man, or we should say boy, who replaced him.
Angel Gomes, 16 years and 263 days old, was introduced and in the process he became the youngest player to represent United since Duncan Edwards – and the first player born in the 21st century to appear in the Premier League.
Gomes was the shining star of the club’s academy. That he replaced Rooney felt prophetic, a torch-passing moment.
The teenager had only minutes to make his impact that day. No matter, though. There would be ample opportunity to impress in the future. Or at least that is what so many thought.
Almost three years have passed since that warm May afternoon and Gomes has made only nine further appearances for Manchester United. Perhaps more importantly, just three have been starts.
That’s why, according to The Mirror, he is prepared to leave Old Trafford when his contract expires this summer. Gomes wants to play, to get his career up and running and so a move to Chelsea is on the cards.
A young player moving to Stamford Bridge to secure precious Premier League game time would have been unthinkable just 12 months ago but Frank Lampard has helped change that.
The Chelsea boss has consistently championed the club’s academy graduates this season and Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all been heavily involved in the first team while Billy Gilmour was just getting a run of games before the season was suspended.
Combined, that group has made more than 150 appearances for the Blues in all competitions this season. So it would be little surprise if the United youngster feels there is a secure first-team pathway at Chelsea.
Gomes’ talent is beyond doubt. An explosive dribbler who can ease away from opponents or beat them with his…