Angel Gomes, Lille’s featherweight is getting thicker

Revelation of the start of the season in Lille, playmaker Angel Gomes has been successfully repositioned as a midfielder despite his small size, a move that will be put to the test on Saturday in Marseille (9:00 p.m.) during the 7th day of Ligue 1 .

The Englishman (22) should start again in a more hard-working role, he the featherweight creator (1.68m) who has dropped a notch since the start of the season.

An evolution which corresponds to Paulo Fonseca’s desire to align technically comfortable profiles, but which the new Lille coach is not the first to have considered with the pros.

If he preferred to put him on the left side, his predecessor Jocelyn Gourvennec had tried the experiment on the lawn of Nice (3-1), associating him with Amadou Onana in a depopulated midfield during the penultimate day of the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

A conclusive experiment, the quality of the pass of the international Espoirs largely compensating for a light physique for the position.

“Angel is an incredible midfielder, you just have to give him the opportunity. You can put him anywhere, he is able to play well,” said his partner Timothy Weah in the mixed zone after the match.

Highly rated in the training center of Manchester United, club where he arrived as a kid and started in the Premier League at only 16 years old, Gomes experienced several positions there … including that of central midfielder.

“Amazingly, I know (this position) well having occupied it in the youth teams, even if I also played point guard, on the sides or in point”, explained the native of London last week in conference of hurry.

“As long as I’m on the pitch, I’m happy, but it’s true that I enjoy (being a torchbearer) because I can create, help the team move forward and I have fun,” said he added.

– “I play football, not rugby” –

Associated with Benjamin André, a reference in L1 in defensive work, the 22-year-old player has found himself a partner of choice.

“+Benji+ greatly facilitates things: his intensity, his energy and his experience push the whole team, not just me. We talk constantly on the pitch and he is someone from whom I can learn a lot”, praised the ‘English.

Even if he is more in a creative role, while André rakes the balloons, Gomes must regularly put the shoulder. And he smiles when we talk about his size, he who just exceeds 60 kg.

“Since childhood, I have always been smaller than everyone else so it is normal for me but I have qualities that some bigger players may not have,” he said. before the Nice reception.

Even if the recruitment of his almost namesake André Gomes on the last day of the transfer window increases competition, it will not be easy to take his place as holder.

“Angel is a very good player and he is going through a very good period. He has a lot of influence in our attacking animation,” said Fonseca on Friday.

And it is not the 20 centimeters and as many kilos that he gives back to the Portuguese European champion that will make Angel complex, the youngest of the two Gomes.

A confidence that is reflected in his words: “I can fight against much stronger players and my size does not mean that I will lose all the duels. But the physical aspect is not a subject for me. I play football, not rugby.”


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