Manchester United youth midfielder, Kobbie Mainoo, has impressed in pre-season and shown just why he is so highly rated within the club.
Mainoo is considered by many to be the next big thing to come through the United youth ranks.
With Alejandro Garnacho having recently navigated that path successfully, United fans will be keen to see what Mainoo can do on the big stage.
Erik ten Hag seems to share the enthusiasm for seeing Mainoo around Old Trafford, with the Man United manager having expressed his confidence that the player can make the step up.
Already, Mainoo is the toast of United fans across the world, with many believing he bossed England International and £105m new Arsenal man, Declan Rice in Saturday’s pre-season friendly.
Declan Rice must be enjoying learning how to play CDM by watching Kobbie Mainoo’s first-half masterclass
— Wayne Barton (@WayneSBarton) July 22, 2023
Still only 18, Mainoo is a defensive midfielder with excellent dribbling and an impressive passing range.
And with United currently in the market for a new midfielder, there are many who suggest that Mainoo can step up and fill the void.
With his evident talent and the ease with which he has taken to his first-team appearances so far, it is reasonable to expect that he could play some limited role as a squad player.
However, playing a bit-part role may not be the best way to enhance his development.
At this point, the player will benefit most from having regular game time, and the best path for him would be a loan to a team in the lower echelons of the football league, or to another Premier League team – provided game time will be guaranteed.
United are entering Erik ten Hag’s second season in charge, and results will be expected.
Both already 31, last season’s main midfield pairing of Casemiro and Eriksen are ageing. While both players undoubtedly still have a lot to offer, some youthful energy will be needed.
Yet, relying on an 18-year-old who is still learning his trade may not be a sustainable solution across a full season.
United should instead press on with plans to bring in an additional midfielder – with Sofyan Amrabat looking like the most realistic option at the moment.
Getting a full season under his belt at a decent level like the Championship would help Mainoo significantly, and prepare him for a more stable role in the first team.