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Other Sports'If they're good enough, they're old enough' – Ten Hag confident Mainoo...

‘If they’re good enough, they’re old enough’ – Ten Hag confident Mainoo can handle Galatasaray trip

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has no concerns regarding Kobbie Mainoo’s ability to handle the red-hot atmosphere likely to await the Red Devils when they face Galatasaray on Wednesday.

United travel to Istanbul bottom of their UEFA Champions League group, knowing a defeat will end their chances of reaching the last 16. A draw could also seal their fate, depending on the result of Copenhagen’s trip to Bayern Munich in Group A’s other match on Wednesday.

Ten Hag’s team head to Turkey without injured midfield trio Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount, but their absences allowed Mainoo to play a starring role against Everton on Saturday.

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Handed his first Premier League start at Goodison Park, Mainoo earned plaudits for an assured performance in the middle of the park as United claimed a 3-0 win, their fifth victory in their last six league games.

While much has been made of the hostile reception United are likely to receive in Turkey, Ten Hag has no misgivings about the 18-year-old’s ability to handle the occasion.

“No, we don’t have any concerns,” Ten Hag said at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference. “If players are good enough, they are old enough.”

Asked about Mainoo’s performance against the Toffees, Ten Hag added: “I think we are very pleased with that performance, but it’s one performance and you have to do it on a consistent basis.

“Kobbie is so mature, he knows that, and we are confident he will do it.

“But he has to prove he can do it, like we all have prove it. You are only as good as your last game.”

 

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Mainoo has attracted plenty of attention in recent days, with reports suggesting Ghana are looking to persuade him to switch international allegiance from England, who he has represented up to under-19 level.

Ten Hag does not think the midfielder will be affected by the spotlight being on him, saying: “He should enjoy it [the attention] first, but keep focused on the game.

“Don’t get distracted so your focus goes to things away from football. It’s about the games, you have to focus on your performances, reaching the right levels.

“When we see a player getting distracted by it, we will tell him. But I see his levels in training, so I’m not concerned that he will be distracted by it.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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