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Nine things you need to know about Man Utd and England star Kobbie Mainoo

Kobbie Mainoo is the latest emerging star from Manchester United to receive a senior England call-up at just 18 years old.

The young, cultured midfielder has been called up and has joined the prestigious group of young Lions who have been selected at the young age of 18. Other players that are among the group are fellow team-mates Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw.  

What makes Mainoo so great is his wide range of abilities with and without the ball, demonstrating an unbelievable showcase of maturity, physicality and technique way beyond his years.  

Forget the fact that the young English midfielder is 18, there seems to be no weakness in his game, demonstrating high-level performances week in week out for a Manchester United team that has seemed to really struggle to find their rhythm this season. 

On his current trajectory he is going to become one of the finest players of his generation, if all goes to plan. 

Here, Planet Sport's Samy Aouati looks at nine things you need to know about Kobbie Mainoo… 

Stockport’s finest 

Mainoo (born on the 19th of April, 2005) grew up in Greater Manchester, Stockport and started his youth career at his local side Cheadle & Gatley Football Club before joining Manchester United at just nine years old. 

Despite Phil Foden remaining the talk of the Stockport town, Red Devils fans have a great deal to be excited about with young Mainoo.  

6? 8? 6.5? 

The tenacious midfielder holds an unparalleled number of wide abilities that has many questioning what his true position is? 

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has played Mainoo as the deepest in a three-man midfield. Protecting his back line has left many stunned with the level of responsibility given to a player at a young age. 

Ten Hag has also moved the young man in the number 8 role when playing central defensive midfielder Casemiro. With the evolution of football, we are seeing a variant of a 6.5! Mainoo is an illustration of a midfielder with the ability to play all positions in a midfield.   

Youth career 

Mainoo famously grew up playing for Manchester United in the academy programme in Carrington. 

The Red Devils famously won the FA Youth Cup in 2021/22 which was the catalyst for many young players making a name for themselves. Notably, young players like Alejandro Garnacho, Daniel Gorr and Isak Aaronsen were also all playing in that famous side. 

Mainoo had a fantastic campaign during that season, leading to his development skyrocketing within the next few years. It wasn’t long until Ten Hag noticed his ability, so he soon became a regular, joining the first team’s training session.  

Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year 

During his rise to fame, after such a remarkable 2022/23 campaign, Mainoo was awarded the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award at Manchester United. His rise through the ranks at Old Trafford left head of academy Nick Cox thrilled with his development. 

Winning such a prestigious award off the back of his fantastic Premier League 2 performances leaves the future bright for the young midfielder.  

Breakthrough at 17

After impressing Erik ten Hag with his performance during the 2022 season, Mainoo was called up to the first team at only 17 years old. He was then handed his first professional debut against Charlton in January 2023. 

Later, in July 2023, Manchester United rewarded the youngster with a new five-year deal. 

Ten Hag later included him in a Manchester United squad which was heading over to the USA for their pre-season tour. Through this, Mainoo saw the opportunity of a lifetime - to play against Arsenal (and especially fellow England compatriot Declan Rice). 

His performance was incredible for the first game. Unfortunately, Mainoo picked up an injury which cut his pre-season short, leaving Ten Hag with no choice but to send him back home. 

READ MORE: England vs Brazil tips and predictions: Wembley stadium hosts main event of the international break

Man of the match debutant 

Carrington’s latest prodigy would finally get his first Premier League start away from home against Everton at Goodison Park. 

Off the back of a points deduction, Everton saw their fans create somewhat of a hostile atmosphere that evening. 

Mainoo played 71 minutes, making 41 passes with a phenomenal pass accuracy of 83%, 2/3 aerial duels won, and 5/8 duels won on the ground. 

Notably, he also cleared the ball off the line and saved his side from conceding. 

Mainoo showed a level of maturity beyond his years and was a real progressor of the ball in build-up, which was a key element of Ten Hag’s playing style. Later, he would go on to receive the Man of the Match award, kick-starting his Manchester United career. 

Three Lions call-up 

March 2024 saw Mainoo join a prestigious list of 18-year-olds called up to England duty. 

The young midfielder received a call-up to the Under-21s side, leaving many fans questioning… why not the seniors? 

Gareth Southgate spoke on this, mentioning how he had only played a handful of games for his side, needing to acquire a higher level of experience. 

This left many England fans very upset with the decision. Fortunately, however, a few days later Mainoo and fans got their wish granted and he was called up to the senior side. 

Liverpool’s thorn 

One of Mainoo’s best performances to date happened at Old Trafford in an FA Cup quarter-final against local rivals Liverpool. 

The game itself was a scintillating watch. The Red Devils ended up winning within extra time with a goal from Amad Diallo in the last minute of the game, making the final score 3-2. 

Within his 80 minutes played, we saw Mainoo have 57 touches, 7/10 duels won, 2/2 tackles, 4/4 dribbles completed, and one big chance created. 

The large magnitude of the rivalry between the two teams, mixed with the history of the FA Cup, placed a lot of pressure on the players involved. 

Through not only his participation, but also his outstanding performance, Mainoo has shown an incredible level of courage and bravery. Mainoo introduced himself to the world in this game.  

Euro 2024 role? 

England have an abundance of midfielders at their disposal for the Euros, and Southgate has a hell of a decision to make. 

With every Mainoo performance getting better, many fans around the world are left curious on what the youngster must do to get his seat on the plane. 

After his recent England training, during an interview with the press, he made his intentions crystal clear - that it is his goal to be on that plane. 

Many ex-professionals have illustrated the importance of being careful with young emerging talents. This is due to catastrophic turn of events that we have seen take place, such as the entire nation turning against David Beckham after he was awarded a red card during the 1998 World Cup game against Argentina. 

Southgate clearly has one big decision to make. 

Summary 

Overall, England and Manchester United fans have a great deal to be excited about with Kobbie Mainoo.  

The young Red Devils star shows a level of maturity in his play way beyond his years and has the world at his feet. 

Being hampered slightly due to injury at the beginning was only a minor setback and his eyes are now set on obtaining a spot on the plane for Euro 2024.

READ MORE: England injury update: Doubts over Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson on eve of Brazil showdown

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