When the signing of Madger Gomes was announced, he was supposed to be a signing to bolster the Leeds United Academy. The youth system was in serious need of an upgrade, and while Gomes had played well for the Liverpool Academy team, he hadn’t really gotten a chance to prove himself in the Liverpool first team after being signed from Spanish side Villarreal. He has trained with the first team all preseason, but will he make the first team against Bolton in a couple of weeks? Or would he be best served to play for the U-23s in the Academy so he doesn’t miss out on crucial development at this stage in his career?
Gomes was brought into the first team during preseason with a chance to impress. Paudie O’Connor was another one of the young players brought into camp, and he was sent back to the Academy before the trip to Austria. Gomes stayed with the first team in Austria along with Conor Shaughnessy. And while the young Irish midfielder is a good talent, he doesn’t have the potential that Gomes has to be a difference maker.
Gomes scored a very nice goal on his very first appearance for the club in the first preseason game against Harrogate Town, immediately starting the hype train for him to join the first team. Gomes has continued to appear for the first team, even coming on in the dying minutes of the match against SD Eibar, coming on to replace Vurnon Anita at left-back.
Despite the depth that Leeds has at winger Gomes is still getting time in training. While winger was seen as an area that Leeds could improve on during the summer transfer window, the new signings of Samuel Saiz and Gianni Alioski along with existing players Stuart Dallas, Kemar Roofe, and Hadi Sacko all seem to be vying for playing time on the wing, and it would seem that Gomes would need to have a spectacular preseason to crack the lineup, and yet he’s still with the first team.
A lot of clarity to his situation will be provided after the last friendly match against Oxford United. If Gomes plays and impresses in the last game, he might displace one of the existing senior squad members for a place on the bench. But is that the best place for him?
If Gomes can crack the lineup on a regular basis, displacing Dallas, Sacko or Roofe to land a consistent starting place, then he should play. However, given his age and stage of his development, he should be playing week in, week out, not riding the pine or coming in for the last 10 or 15 minutes. So while it make for a great story, unless Gomes can grab a starting place or play at least two or three times a month in rotation with other wingers, coming on in midweek and cup matches, then he needs to play in the Academy.