As Manchester United failed to break down a stubborn Newcastle side on Sunday, there was an unfamiliar face on the bench.
In the absences of Anthony Martial and Christian Eriksen, academy youngster Kobbie Mainoo was given a place on the bench by Erik ten Hag.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ten Hag acknowledged that the 17-year-old was not there by chance or as a token gesture. The United boss emphasised that he was there on merit, having met the high standards set to be a part of the first-team setup.
According to The Mirror, in a profile of the player, Mainoo is described as ‘different class’ and the ‘real deal’.
The Mirror reports, “Plenty has certainly been said about Mainoo ahead of a potential Red Devils’ debut.”
“After a pre-season friendly 2-1 defeat to non-league side Altrincham, commentator Jonny Crowther touted the midfielder as different class.”
Mainoo, Stockport-born, initially played for Cheadle & Gatley junior football club before the Red Devils made a swoop for him when he was just nine.
Since then, he has gone from strength to strength and at present majorly features for the U21 side, his first season at such a level.
Since his promotion to the side, he has fit in perfectly, emerging as one of the players likely to break into the spotlight and make an impact. Others have come before Mainoo and diminished into irrelevance, but he looks like a certain prospect.
The Englishman was a key player last season when the youth team went on ahead to win the FA Youth Cup against Nottingham Forest.
In May this year, the young star was rewarded with his first professional contract. United know they have a potential world-beater on their hands.
Mainoo will undoubtedly be buoyed by his inclusion in the first team in such a crucial game. Hopefully, he continues to impress and it will only become a matter of time until he gets a senior debut.