Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood… Kobbie Mainoo?
The latter is a player most Manchester United fans will not have heard of. That could change in 2021.
Mainoo, 15, is making impressive strides for the club’s academy teams and is set up for a big year ahead.
Already stepping up a level
Mainoo made his second under-18s appearance of the season last week in the 4-0 win over Leeds. He came close to scoring too, with a late effort going just wide of the post.
He had featured earlier in the campaign in the under-18s derby with Manchester City.
So far he has amassed 72 minutes of under-18s football, and this should increase substantially over the next year.
The under-18s sit top of the league and a number of attackers will be pushed up a level to the under-23s over the months ahead, with Charlie McNeill expected to join Joe Hugill. This will create further chances for Mainoo.
Mainoo’s impressive performances for the under-16s have earned him a step up. United will always push outstanding talent up a level, where there are opportunities to do so.
At international level Mainoo is eligible to play for England or Ghana. He has not been capped at youth level by either just yet.
Mainoo is an attacking midfielder who has a good eye for goal. It could be that he develops as a striker over the years ahead. In one of his substitute appearances he replaced a forward, the other a midfielder.
His chances at under-18 level will probably continue to be sporadic in the next half of the season, before he formally steps up a level in 2021/22. He turns 16 in April.
The very fact Mainoo is getting chances this early on tells you how highly the club regard him at this stage of his career. He is a name to watch over the year ahead.
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