Nicky Butt still has 'massive hopes' for Angel Gomes at Manchester United despite the teenager's contract situation.
Gomes, 19, is approaching the last four months of his deal and rejected an offer from United earlier this season. His representatives attempted to secure a Premier League loan for Gomes on transfer deadline day in January a year after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had blocked a loan move lined up for Gomes.
Butt said in a September 2016 interview with The Times he had 'massive hopes' for Gomes, who made his United debut aged 16 years and 263 days against Crystal Palace in May 2017. The Salford-raised forward has spent over half his life at the club but not started since the 2-1 defeat to Astana on November 28, and last played for the first-team over a month ago.
"I've still got massive hopes for him," Butt told the MEN. "He’s got a contract dispute at the minute which all players have, and I don’t get involved in that. That’s what he does with his agent and the club. That’s personal.
"The boy trains every day and works hard and his talent is unbelievable. His work ethic, the way he approaches training every day, and the way he approaches games whether he’s playing for the reserve-team, the Under-19s, the first-team, is spot-on and he’s a very talented boy.
"He’s different to players like Scott [McTominay], because they are powerful and they can go an compete at that level. Angel is different. He has to get the right niche at the right time.
"If it all comes together then we've got one hell of a player on our hands."
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided Gomes and Tahith Chong, also out of contract at the end of June, should play in the U19s' friendly win over Club Brugge last week and Gomes has not made a matchday squad since the 2-0 defeat to Burnley a month ago.
Barcelona are among a number of European clubs interested in Gomes and there are reservations within his camp over the academy graduate's playing prospects at United. Gomes first visited United's Carrington training ground at the age of six.