Manchester United legend Andy Cole has praised the ability of the club’s youngsters after the Red Devils’ opening pre-season game.

A young Manchester United side beat Leeds 2-0 in Norway earlier this week, with Noam Emeran and Joe Hugill on the scoresheet.

It proved how much quality United have coming through at academy level, and will have given manager Erik ten Hag plenty of reason to be encouraged.

Former striker Andy Cole told club media: “You never really know where these kids are going to end up. But what they showed on Wednesday was a big, big positive.”

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Manchester United v Leeds United - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Andy Cole on Kobbie Mainoo

Cole explained he was especially impressed by promising youngster Kobbie Mainoo, and understands what all the hype is about.

Mainoo, 18, was a starter in Oslo and Cole said he had been told the teenager was due to play a few more games late in 2022/23 if he had not been sidelined with a minor injury.

He explained: “In the first half, the young central midfield player [Kobbie Mainoo] was very good.

“I was speaking to someone who said if he hadn’t been injured, he might have played a few games at the back end of last season.

“I was looking at him the other day and I was thinking to myself, ‘I can see why’. He looked a really good player.”

Mainoo started in the Carabao Cup quarter-final last season when just 17 and also made substitute appearances in the Premier League and FA Cup.

He is a player Erik ten Hag evidently has high hopes for, and thankfully he is fully fit for the start of pre-season to try and showcase what he is capable of.

READ MORE: Manchester United transfer history 2013 to present day

Andy Cole on Noam Emeran

Cole went onto pick out surprise package Noam Emeran as another player who really caught his eye, focusing on his overall play and not just his goal.

He said: “The boy who got the first goal, Emeran. His energy, the way he got the ball and ran at people. He was just positive, mentally.”

Emeran, 20, will get more minutes against Lyon this week before the club consider whether to include him on the club’s pre-season tour of the US.

A report from French outlet Footmercato has claimed five clubs from three different countries have expressed interest in signing the winger on loan, and that list may be set to grow after his latest showing.

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