When Manchester United take on Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly in the States, the eyes of the world will probably be watching Jude Bellingham strut around the turf, following his £115 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Madrid this summer.

It’s an interesting dynamic for the powers that be at Old Trafford with Bellingham, not too long ago, being shown around Carrington training ground by then chief executive Ed Woodward according to the Manchester Evening News. United were in the midst of their big charm offensive to convince the midfielder that Manchester was the best place for his development.

The then 16-year-old decided against making the move to Old Trafford and instead chose Germany as his next destination with Dortmund signing the midfielder for £25 million according to Sky Sports. Bellingham has since gone on to feature heavily for England at last winter’s World Cup and complete a stunning move to Real Madrid.

United would have been kicking themselves after seeing Bellingham move to Madrid, but they may have their own midfield maestro who could be an instrumental cog for years to come.

READ: Confirmed Manchester United transfers in, out, loans, releases, youth for 2023/24

Real Madrid v AC Milan - Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Kobbie Mainoo vs Jude Bellingham

By no means am I suggesting they are comparable but there are certain similarities. Both have broken through at young ages, both are midfielders and both have talent and maturity beyond their years.

Kobbie Mainoo has been superb in pre-season so far and will likely go up against Bellingham when the two go head-to-head on Thursday morning. Mainoo will do well to hold his own against such a talent like the former Birmingham City midfielder.

The midfielder certainly did hold his own against an Arsenal midfield that included another £100 million English midfielder, Declan Rice. He is more than capable of slotting in seamlessly and not looking out of place in men’s football.

The English midfielder certainly has a bright future at Old Trafford but Thursday represents the biggest challenge yet for the midfielder.

What does the future hold for Mainoo?

With Mainoo doing so well for ten Hag it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that the midfielder could start the opening game of the season against Wolves next month.

Even though that seems unlikely, it is a testament to how far the youngster has come in such a short space of time that him starting the opening game of the season is a possibility.

One thing is for certain, Mainoo will be staying at Old Trafford this summer and United will not countenance a loan according to The Athletic.

The future is certainly an exciting one for Mainoo and it certainly isn’t out of the question that in a year’s time, the 18-year-old could be receiving the sort of praise Bellingham has, such is the precocious talent of the Englishman.

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