Mendes Gomes highlights Luton boss Jones' plans for him as 'crazy' footballing journey continues at Kenilworth Road
Attacker thrilled to have realised his dream of becoming a professional footballer
New Town signing Carlos Mendes Gomes highlighted manager Nathan Jones’ desire to bring him into the club as one of the main reasons that he opted to continue his 'crazy' footballing journey with a move to Kenilworth Road recently.
The 22-year-old became Luton’s seventh addition of the summer last month, agreeing to leave newly promoted to League One side Morecambe for an undisclosed fee.
Although there was plenty of interest in the attacker, who was with Atletico Madrid as a teenager, like a number of other players, he was won over when meeting Jones, who himself played in Spain earlier in his career.
Mendes Gomes, who was on target in Saturday's 7-0 friendly win at Hitchin Town, said: “He gave me a presentation, he came with a plan and showed me how organised he is as a person and the club itself.
“He spoke with a passion that not many people actually did.
“He speaks Spanish as well and he played abroad, so he knows how it feels to be far from home.
“So, for me coming from Manchester to Luton, he can actually feel that and the way that he spoke to me was class.
“Obviously, that’s what you want from a manager, especially when you’re moving clubs. I really liked the chat that we had.”
Jones had actually left Luton as a 22-year-old to go abroad, spending two seasons with Badajoz and Numancia, before heading back to join Southend United and forge his career in England.
It was a slightly different road for Mendes Gomes, who was born in Senegal, before going to Getafe and Madrid, then heading to England aged just 15, when his father decided to move in search of a better education for his family.
Despite not speaking the language, the teenager had to find a new club, eventually joining North West Counties League side West Didsbury & Chorlton, before Morecambe snapped him up in 2018, as he made his name in the Football League with the Shrimps.
On how he managed to adapt to a new country, he said: “Football is international, it doesn’t matter where you go, you talk with your feet.
“It was more the language that was the problem.
“There are certain things you need to learn to be able to communicate with your team-mates and take information from your manager.
“At the time, I couldn’t really do that, but I tried to work on my English and it’s a bit better now.
“I did a college engineering course and I made some good friends, so speaking with people and playing football with my class-mates actually helped me with the language.
“It was a lot different from what I was used to, the pitches were not as great and we actually had to get the goalies to play outfield.
"But when you love the game, you just want to play and you will do anything to actually achieve that dream.
“The first year was really tough to actually find a club so the second year when I got a club, I knew that I needed to get playing, enjoy my football and hopefully someone will spot me in some sense.
“Football is about opinion and it only takes one person to have the right opinion about you for you to kick on.”
Mendes Gomes' unshakeable desire to make it as a footballer has seen him overcome all the difficult times, and he remains thrilled he has managed to make his dreams become a reality, adding: "It hasn’t been easy, I always believed in myself and I believe humility plays a key part.
"Never get too high, one day lows will come, and you have to know how to overcome them.
"I’ve been lucky enough to have been brought up in a household with those values, so I always believed in myself, I always did my best and I don't know if it’s luck, but it’s certainly been a crazy journey.
“It was tough at that age, leaving your house wasn't easy, but I always had a focus in my life and a goal and it was becoming a professional footballer.
"So I always chased that dream and thank god I actually achieved it.”