Home ยป Erik ten Hag declares Kobbie Mainoo as his ideal profile of a defensive midfielder

Erik ten Hag declares Kobbie Mainoo as his ideal profile of a defensive midfielder

by Vatsal Gupta

Manchester United had a gaping hole in their midfield, especially at the base of it, for a long time.

When Casemiro was signed last summer and played a brilliant season, it looked like the void was filled but this year, the issues have arisen again.

Between the Brazilian’s dip in form, Sofyan Amrabat struggling with the rigours of the Premier League, and Christian Eriksen not suited in a defensive role, the place was up for grabs.

It was, indeed, grabbed by Kobbie Mainoo in a masterful performance on his debut league start against Everton.

Talking post-match, Erik ten Hag announced that Mainoo’s skillset is exactly what he expects from his No. 6 (Defensive midfielder).

He said leading the buildup and possession phase is a requirement for his No. 6, which Mainoo was “very mature” in doing.

“Very mature. Getting the ball and making the right decisions. Leading our build-up, leading our possession. That is what we expect from our no.6 there…,” he said.

While this statement will be music to the ears of Mainoo, it is also one of the rare times that Ten Hag has revealed a layer of what his ideal team should be.

This statement confirms why he relentlessly pushed for Frenkie de Jong’s transfer last summer, as taking the ball from the defenders on the half-turn and progressing play is his major quality.

It is not exactly a ringing endorsement for the skillset of Casemiro and Amrabat, who are defence-first midfielders with less emphasis on technical and possession skills.

There was a feeling among fans last summer that despite Casemiro’s brilliant performances, he wasn’t the first-choice for the manager, as evidenced by the late dash United made for him, only after failing to agree a deal for De Jong.

However, with that in the background and Mainoo emerging as a quality prospect, Ten Hag might have finally found an in-house solution to a longstanding problem of his.

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