- 20 hours ago
Kobbie Mainoo has already ended Mason Mount's Man Utd career
The 18-year-old has had a simply stunning rise to prominence in recent months after being thrown somewhat into the deep end by Erik ten Hag against Everton at Goodison Park in November. It was a debut performance to remember, so much so that it even left the notoriously overcritical Roy Keane speechless.
"Unbelievable," Keane said after the match. "We don’t want to get too carried away but I’m sure we will...Good luck to the kid. He was outstanding. It’s a great start for him. Let’s hope he stays injury-free and gets a run of games for Man United because he looked a Man United type of player. Nice and brave, lots of courage. I loved watching him."
Since then, the teenager has only gone from strength to strength and has quickly become undroppable for Erik ten Hag, even scoring a spectacular winner against Wolves last week. The midfielder exudes calmness and has become a crucial link between United's attack and defence, a role that was initially supposed to be filled by Mason Mount.
Mount on the outside looking in
The ex-Chelsea man arrived in the summer as Erik ten Hag's number-one target. The Red Devils shelled out a ridiculous €64 million on a player who only had a year left on his contract and no intention of penning a new deal. It was very much a typical Man Utd signing of recent years, with fans believing that their team was quite simply ripped off.
Those who were critical of the deal at the time have been proven correct so far this season. Mount has barely played due to injury, only making 12 appearances, and he looked ineffectual when fit. While injuries are, of course, out of his hands, there is no getting around the fact that he has been a major disappointment.
George Smith, writing for the Manchester Evening News, makes a salient point about Mount's future. The emergence of Mainoo has already pretty much spelt the end of his time as a Man Utd starter. Unless Ten Hag converts Mount into a winger, there is simply no way he should be starting in the Dutchman's side, certainly not in his three-man midfield.
The somewhat uncertain future of Bruno Fernandes could be Mount's only hope. The club captain isn't getting any younger and Saudi interest in his services will again rear its head in the summer. If a big enough offer comes in, the Red Devils could be tempted to cash in on the 29-year-old.
This would pave the way for Mount to become Ten Hag's chief midfield creator. If that doesn't materialise, however, it is difficult to imagine the €64m man being more than a backup player for the foreseeable future.