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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 25 May, 2018

Could Manchester United's 16-year-old 'next big thing' feature against Crystal Palace?

Angel Gomes is tipped for superstardom but is it too early for him to make the step-up?

Image: Nick Potts

JOSE MOURINHO HAS promised to include some youngsters in his side for Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

But, will the club’s ‘next big thing’ be given a chance to impress?

Angel Gomes is only 16 but, at United’s end-of-year awards ceremony on Thursday night, he was rewarded for his excellent campaign with the U18 side and crowned as the Jimmy Murphy Youth Player of the Year.

Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville all received the same accolade in the early 1990s and, in recent years, the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Marcus Rashford have been honoured.

And, the morning after the night before, Gomes found himself taking part in first-team training, alongside senior squad members like Wayne Rooney, David de Gea and Juan Mata.

Gomes – a Londoner but who has been at United since he was eight – has captained England at U16 and U17 level.

A goal-getting midfielder, he’s enjoyed a terrific 2016/2017 campaign. Memorably, his hat-trick against Everton last August saw him – then just 15 – become the youngest player in 15 years to accomplish such a feat at Academy level.

Posted by on Friday, 25 May 2018

Sunday’s clash with Sam Allardyce’s side may come a little too early for Gomes but, with Mourinho set to feature a handful of youngsters, it’s not outlandish to think he could find himself on the bench.

With the club’s focus centred on next week’s Europa League final against Ajax, Mourinho is expected to give run-outs to as many as five raw talents at Old Trafford this weekend: Josh Harrop, Zak Dearnley, Matty Willock, Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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