Home ยป “That’s what I like in a player”: Erik ten Hag explains what makes Kobbie Mainoo so special

“That’s what I like in a player”: Erik ten Hag explains what makes Kobbie Mainoo so special

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has lauded Kobbie Mainoo for his impact ever since he came into the team.

Young Mainoo impressed during his full Premier League debut at Everton and has started each of his side’s last three clashes.

During United’s most recent match against Aston Villa, Mainoo was impressive once more and made his mark in a midfield trio also consisting of seasoned professionals like Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Ten Hag waxed lyrical about the 18-year-old and his abilities.

“We have players like Bruno (Fernandes) who can receive and pass. We have Christian Eriksen and Kobbie Mainoo who are very good at serving and then, with the speed of our players, we can play very direct, arriving very quickly into the box of the opponent.”

“He [Mainoo] has personality. That is what you need if you want to play here. He is very talented. He has to work hard but he looks very composed. He is very mature for his age. What he brings to the team is his composure and his game understanding.”

“He is always looking to go forward. That is what I like in a player.”

This season, United have often been accused of being imbalanced in the middle of the park, partly due to some players constantly bombing forward and as a result, leaving huge spaces at the back.

Ten Hag told Sky that to counter this weakness, he found a solution by way of deploying Diogo Dalot as an inverted full-back.

The Dutchman noted that against Liverpool at Anfield, the tactic brought the Merseyside outfit “out of their comfort zone.”

He opened up on the injury crisis that has plagued United this season but expressed hope that the imminent returns of the likes of Lisandro Martinez, Mason Mount, Harry Maguire and Casemiro in January will make a big difference.

Ten Hag remarked, “I think when the players return they can be new signings for us. They will strengthen the squad and definitely we need that.”

Up next for United is a trip to the City Ground to face Nuno Espirito Santos’ Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

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