Kobbie Mainoo makes Manchester United under-23 debut

When he made his under-18s debut last year at just 15, Kobbie Mainoo set himself out as a player Manchester United fans should keep track of.

A year on he has already made the step up to under-23 level.

Mainoo made his debut for Manchester United’s under-23s against Tottenham at the weekend.

The 16-year-old came off the bench for the final six minutes of United’s narrow 1-0 loss to Tottenham.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images


Making progress

It was only a matter of time before Mainoo made the step up, and it is deserved.

This season Mainoo has been a standout performer in central midfield for the under-18s, with his quick feet and incisive passing helping him to impress, while his recent goal against Middlesbrough came with his head.

Over the past fortnight Mainoo has been away with England’s under-17s, during which time he scored an impressive solo goal and also won a penalty.

It is uncertain whether Mainoo’s step up to under-23 level is permanent.

Like Aaron Hansen-Aaroen, who started the game against Tottenham’s 23s, Mainoo is likely to be eased in.

Alternatively, United could go the whole way and push him up quickly. The team did so with Shola Shoretire last season when he was only 16.

Mainoo’s progress is particularly worth keeping an eye on because of the position he plays.

If Mainoo can go on to compete long term as a central midfielder for the first team, he will turn out to be a real find.

At this stage it is a long way off, but Mainoo is well ahead of schedule, only turning 17 in April. He is a player United are clearly very excited about.

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