Ian Wright is spot on - Gareth Southgate must give former Man Utd star his 'flowers' with England call up

The pundit has called for former Red Devils midfielder Angel Gomes to be handed a senior call up by the Three Lions.
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Another weekend, another superlative Kobbie Mainoo display to surely force the hand of England manager Gareth Southgate. Absurdly young as he may be, the Manchester United midfielder is becoming irrefutable, and the longer that he continues to churn out these unnerving exhibitions of composure and sumptuous quality, the bigger the uproar is going to be when he is inevitably overlooked for the Three Lions' next squad announcement.

On Sunday, Mainoo was just about the only player in a United shirt who didn't lose his head as Luton Town did their utmost to bloody visiting noses. Within seven minutes, the Red Devils were 2-0 ahead, and for the vast majority of the following 83, you would have been forgiven for thinking they were 2-0 behind. Inconsistent, frustrating, panicked - increasingly this is becoming the United way.

But not Mainoo. Measured and cool, with a near prophetic knack for anticipating looming threats, the teenager passed and wriggled his way around the centre of the park like a nimble rabbit navigating an intricately-burrowed warren, twisting and turning and keeping a steady beat as all around him succumbed to the chaos.

Indeed, his performance was once again enough to draw vocal plaudits from revered pundit Ian Wright, who took to social media to plead Mainoo's case as a deserving England international. Writing on X (or Twitter, or whatever you want to call it these days), the former Arsenal striker said: 'Kobbie Mainoo has to be in the next England squad. Such maturity in chaotic conditions that we've not seen from a England player in a long time. Impressed every time I watch him.'

Interestingly, however, Wright then dusted off his keyboard shortly afterwards to shower praise upon a long-departed Manchester United academy graduate too. You see, before Mainoo was making waves in the Premier League, Old Trafford was awash with excitement for another technically-gifted central midfielder.

Angel Gomes would only make 10 senior appearances for his boyhood club before leaving England to sign for Ligue 1 outfit LOSC Lille in 2020, but prior to his departure, there were those who touted him as the next great product of the Red Devils' fabled conveyor belt of youth.

For a short while, however, it did look as if those assertions might remain unfulfilled. Gomes took time to settle in France, and was even farmed out for a loan stint with Portuguese side Boavista at one stage. But in more recent times, he has established himself not only as a player of immense importance to his club, but one who appears increasingly worthy of international recognition.

Writing on his personal account on Sunday, Wright added: 'And equally not seeing enough love and flowers for Angel Gomes and what he's consistently doing at Lille in the centre of midfield. Another top performance yesterday. Call him up and have a look at him.'

Still only 23, Gomes has finally blossomed into the dictator of play that many believed he was always destined to become. Capable of operating in a deep-lying role or in a more advanced, traditional creative space, the midfielder is a pivotal presence for Lille, retaining possession and progressing play well with an incisive range of distribution.

His pass completion rate of 91.3% this season is better than Jude Bellingham's, for context, and only just shy of Declan Rice's average, while his running total of 1.4 key passes per game is more than double that of the Arsenal midfielder's and just a touch below the Real Madrid talisman's.

For a squad stuffed with as much attacking talent as England's, but which also faces repeated accusations of drudgery and excessive conservatism, the injection of a catalyst like Gomes would not go amiss.

There is a growing feeling that the Three Lions are due for a changing of the guard in the engine room. Jordan Henderson, even disregarding his Saudi debacle, is perhaps not the player he once was, while Kalvin Phillips' disastrous loan stint at West Ham and prior inactivity with Manchester City makes him a difficult selection to justify at the present moment in time.

With that in mind, the likes of a Kobbie Mainoo could - and very probably should - be handed a chance to prove himself by Southgate between now and this summer's European Championships. But, as Wright rightly suggests, Gomes surely has to be in the running for a nod too.