Gomez shines on Addicks bow

Charlton Athletic’s Joe Gomez became the latest member of the European Under-17 Championship winning squad to make his first-team bow on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old, who usually performs at centre-half, started as right-back for the Addicks against Colchester United at The Valley. And he looked assured throughout as his side progressed to the second round of the League Cup thanks to a 4-0 win.

Gomez was one of the star performers for the Young Lions as they marched towards Euro glory in Malta back in May, and his form has not gone unnoticed by Charlton’s new boss Bob Peeters who has included the youngster in his first-team squad throughout pre-season.

He was up against the pace of Colchester’s Dominic Vose, but the big South London-born defender gained the upper hand early doors – an indication of things to come.

With three minutes on the clock, a dangerous ball was whipped from the right to Charlton’s back post with Vose looking a cert to connect six yards out – but Gomez did well to beat him to the ball and avert the danger.

Joe Gomez in action for England U17s

Joe Gomez in action for England U17s

The game’s opening goal came on 24 minutes from the penalty spot – Magnus Okuonghae shown a red for The U’s after a handball. Yoni Buyens converted to celebrate his home debut with a goal.

Vose was the unlucky man to make way as Colchester boss Joe Dunne reshuffled his 10-men, and the extra space down the flank allowed Gomez plenty of opportunities to get forward and support the attack.

Despite dominating, the home side had to wait until 54 minutes had passed to double their advantage – Lawrie Wilson firing across goal from the right hand side of the area after Franck Moussa’s cushioned lay-off.

The third goal arrived shortly after, one in which the build-up would begin with some defending from Gomez.

The visitors looked to be in down the right as Freddie Sears latched on to a through-ball, but the young defender showed an impressive burst of pace to not only catch him, but take the ball and calmly play it back to his goalkeeper – drawing huge applause from 5,752 in attendance.

Within a few seconds the ball was at the other end, and Wilson raced through to finish in similar fashion to his first to make it three – and sub Simon Church’s late goal sealed a comfortable victory.

Although he is certain to face tougher tests than this in his career, it was a confident display from Gomez, who left his boss Peeters impressed.

“Gomez is going to be a very good player, and he showed me he needs to be in our squad”

Peeters on Gomez’s debut

“Gomez is going to be a very good player, and he showed me he needs to be in our squad,” said the Belgian.

“At the age of 17 he has everything. Defending wise, he did very well. We still have to work with him, but I’m very happy to present a home grown defender. I’m very happy to have him in my squad.”

In their final pre-season match, and manager Louis Van Gaal’s first game at Old Trafford, Manchester United defeated Valencia 2-1.

England internationals Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young all started for the Red Devils, as did Wayne Rooney – who missed a first-half penalty to open the scoring.

Under-21 defender Michael Keane appeared as a sub, but 20-year-old Tyler Blackett, a left back who has represented his country at every level up until U19, was included from the start.

Despite Rooney’s miss from the spot, United went on to seal victory with goals from Darren Fletcher and a last-minute strike from Marouane Fellaini.

Wayne Rooney Manchester United

Wayne Rooney missed a penalty for United against Valencia

Back in the League Cup, and England U18 striker Bradley Fewster was another to make his first-team debut on Tuesday as he started for Middlesbrough in their 3-0 win at Oldham.

The youngster bagged a hat-trick for the Young Lions back in February against Belgium, but he could not get his name on the scoresheet in Lancashire despite a lively performance in his 74 minutes of action.

One English youngster did steal the headlines, however, as U20 international Luke Williams belted in a brilliant opener for Boro on the half hour mark – rifling an effort from 30 yards into the top-left corner.

Williams was involved in the second goal too, taking a quick throw to fellow U20 international Adam Reach, and the winger pulled it back for Grant Leadbitter to side-foot home.

Under-21 midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey played the full ninety for Brighton as they defeated Cheltenham Town 2-1 courtesy of a last minute winner from Craig Mackail-Smith.

Another U17 European Championship winner Lewis Cook made his first start for Leeds United, playing 66 minutes in the 2-1 victory over Accrington Stanley.

And Under-21 forward Benik Afobe hit his first goal for MK Dons as they saw off Wimbledon 3-1 – with the on-loan Arsenal man hitting their third.