Erik ten Hag has explained why he’s handed Kobbie Mainoo his senior Manchester United debut against Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup.

The Dutchman has named the 17-year-old in his starting line-up for tonight’s quarter-final clash against the League One side at Old Trafford.

With Bruno Fernandes suspended and Donny van de Beek injured, the 52-year-old has given the teenager the opportunity to impress in midfield alongside the more experienced duo Scott McTominay and Fred.

Mainoo was given the nod over Zidane Iqbal with summer signings Christian Eriksen and Casemiro on the bench against the Addicks.

Erik ten Hag explains why he’s handed Kobbie Mainoo his senior Manchester United debut against Charlton

Manchester United Training Session
Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Mainoo, who has been capped at under-18 level for England, was a key part of Manchester United’s FA Youth Cup winning side last season and he’s been named on the bench in the Premier League games against Wolves and Newcastle United already this season.

Ten Hag has once again placed his trust in youth and Mainoo will be hoping to seize his opportunity against the Londoners.

Speaking on MUTV, Ten Hag said: “He did very well in the training camp in Spain and against Everton in a friendly, so he deserves to play.

“I’m happy to give him a chance.”

Mainoo’s inclusion in the starting line-up reaffirms that Ten Hag will give the club’s talented youngsters the chance to stake his claim if they work hard behind the scenes and impress in training at Carrington.

United’s number 73 has had experience playing against Football League sides already this season with the all-action midfielder playing the full 90 minutes against Carlisle United and Fleetwood Town in the EFL Trophy.

Mainoo very much represents the future of Manchester United and he’ll be aiming to impress the three-time Eredivisie winner with an eye-catching display.

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