Kobbie Mainoo appears to have been handed a new shirt number at Manchester United with the teenager donning ‘37’ as the Premier League giants begin pre-season training this week.

After making his Manchester United debut against Charlton Athletic in the EFL Cup in the winter with the number 73 on his back, could the signs indicating that Kobbie Mainoo has been handed an all-new shirt ahead of the 2023/24 campaign hint at his increased role in Erik ten Hag’s plans?

The number 37, of course, is not one usually worn by a senior player. But Mainoo leaving 73 behind feels almost symbolic; some suggesting that he is ready to leave youth-team football behind too.

Manchester United Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

“(We want to give) young players opportunities to work on their personality. Have a good life (so they) can contribute in society. But we want to develop (players too),” Ten Hag said a couple of months ago.

The Dutchman namechecked the Stockport-born 18-year-old when asked who among United’s next generation could emulate the success of Alejandro Garnacho.

“Kobbie Mainoo is on his way,” Ten Hag adds. “There is a pathway to the first-team but they have to deserve it. We have structures in the academy. But talent has to do it by itself.”

Kobbie Mainoo has big future at Man United

The highly-talented Mainoo, capped by England at U19 level, also made his Premier League bow in March’s 3-0 hammering of Leicester City. It was telling, meanwhile, that Ten Hag sought out Mainoo for a private word after United saw off Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, as it to suggest ‘this could be you, if you keep your feet on the ground’.

Mainoo should be handed an opportunity to stake his claim during pre-season; Ten Hag’s side taking on old adversaries Leeds United in Oslo next week.

According to The Athletc’s Laurie Whitwell, Charlie Savage, Hannibal Mejbri and former under 18 captain Rhys Bennett are all currently training with Man United’s first-team squad.

Amad Diallo and Alvaro Fernandez will hope to make their mark too; returning after excellent loan spells at Sunderland and Preston North End.

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