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Other SportsKobbie Mainoo: England boss Southgate monitoring Manchester United wonderkid

Kobbie Mainoo: England boss Southgate monitoring Manchester United wonderkid

Gareth Southgate is keeping a close eye on Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who the England boss believes may take up a more advanced position as he develops.

Mainoo has been a revelation since being handed his full Premier League debut in United’s 3-0 win at Everton in November, being named man of the match as he deputised for absent midfielders Casemiro and Christian Eriksen in that game.

The 18-year-old has kept his place in Erik ten Hag’s preferred lineup despite United recovering many of their injured players in recent weeks, and he scored his first Premier League goal to hand the Red Devils a dramatic 4-3 win over Wolves earlier this month.

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Mainoo’s fine form has led to suggestions he could win a spot in England’s midfield ahead of Euro 2024, alongside regular starters Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice.

The Stockport-born teenager is also eligible to play for Ghana, who are hopeful of convincing him to switch allegiance.

But Southgate says Mainoo – who has been capped by England up to under-19 level – is on his radar and could play a more creative role if called upon by the Three Lions.

“He’s doing brilliantly,” Southgate said when asked about Mainoo following Thursday’s UEFA Nations League draw in Paris.

“I’m not certain he’s necessarily going to be a defensive midfielder, as such.

“He’s quite a progressive player but he’s had a fabulous start to his career and it will be good to monitor him as we go forward.”

England will face Brazil and Belgium in high-profile friendlies at Wembley Stadium during the next international break in March, when Mainoo will hope to win his first senior call-up.

Meanwhile, the Three Lions were drawn alongside the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Greece in Group B2 for the 2024-25 edition of the Nations League on Thursday, and on Friday, it was confirmed that they will begin their campaign in Ireland on Saturday 7th September.

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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