Kobbie Mainoo has come a long way very in a short space of time. As his second spell in the USA in 15 months shows.
Manchester United have a very promising talent in Kobbie Mainoo. We won’t go too far and predict how good he can become, simply lay out what he has achieved in a very short space of time.
The teenager has now started all three pre-season games, the most recent in front of 82,000 fans against Arsenal. He looked very comfortable, and he showed why Erik ten Hag was confident to put him out there.
Next up is a match against Real Madrid. The teenager may well have earned a starting spot for the glamour tie in Houston.
Kobbie Mainoo last match in USA
Kobbie Mainoo has played in the USA before for Manchester United, prior to this pre-season tour. And it was in very different circumstances 15 months ago.
Fresh off lifting the FA Youth Cup for Manchester United in April last year, Mainoo was selected by the Red Devils to represent the under-17s team in the Adidas Generation Cup.
The youth tournament was held in Dallas against teams from across the globe. Mainoo was still just 16 at the time, turning 17 shortly after, and was selected as the team captain.
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He was head and shoulders above everybody on the pitch, leading United to a 2-0 opening victory over Orlando City, leading by example and getting on the scoresheet.
Mainoo helped United to reach the knockout stages and while the team didn’t ultimately win the tournament, it was a showcase opportunity for him to demonstrate his leadership.
Now 15 months on, he appears to be establishing himself as a first team player. Mainoo has already started a competitive game for Erik ten Hag’s side in the Carabao Cup, and featured in the FA Cup and Premier League.
Booking a first team spot
Erik ten Hag was careful to be measured with his praise for the midfielder after Manchester United’s victory.
He told club media: “He is playing with confidence, and I really like his performance. But this year, he showed it in spring, then he got injured. We are really happy. There are more youngsters with us now and they’re all doing very good. But I don’t want to rise expectations too high.”
Mainoo though has surely done enough to secure his place in Manchester United’s first team squad for the season ahead.
The 18-year-old has risen to the challenge so far and looks comfortable mixing it against senior players. We should see a lot more of him this coming season, as his remarkable rise continues.