Manchester United have enjoyed a strong start to pre-season with three victories and three clean sheets.

It has not just been the winning which has been impressive for Manchester United. It is the way manager Erik ten Hag has seamlessly infused youth into the team.

Kobbie Mainoo has been the standout, selected as a starter in all three friendly matches so far, including the glamour tie against Arsenal in front of an 82,000 crowd.

The 18-year-old was praised by teammate Bruno Fernandes after outclassing Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice.

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

Denis Irwin praises Kobbie Mainoo

Denis Irwin was at the game against Arsenal for MUTV and he was very impressed by what he saw from Kobbie Mainoo.

The Irishman said: “He’s had a fantastic game Kobbie. Brave, good on the ball.

“It’s not just the assist, the defensive work as well. He’s got confidence, he looks a real top player.”

He went on to add: “What I’ve seen from Mainoo, what the manager’s seen in training and matches, he must trust him.”

Denis Irwin talks up Dan Gore

Mainoo is not the only one to catch the eye. 18-year-old teammate Dan Gore was not in action against Arsenal but really impressed in the previous friendly match against Lyon.

Irwin said he watched that 1-0 win alongside fellow club legend Bryan Robson, who was nodding at his performance with approval.

He explained: “He’s Robbo’s type of player. Aggressive, on the front foot, created the goal.

“It’s good to see players coming through like this. He would have caught the manager’s eye.”

Gore is on the first team tour and could see action in the following matches against Wrexham, Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund.

Any game time he does get will be a bonus. If he plays like he did against Lyon, then there is a real chance he forces his way into Ten Hag’s thinking for the season ahead, just like Mainoo has.

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