Ten Hag heaps praise on Man Utd wonderkid Mainoo

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 1 Dec 2023 22:03 GMT
  • 3 min read
Erik ten Hag smiling, Man Utd
© ProShots

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has heaped praise on Kobbie Mainoo following his breakout into the Red Devils first-team.

The 18-year-old played a key role in pre-season, but an ankle injury kept him sidelined until November, meaning he was forced to bide his time for an opportunity to shine.

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Mainoo was finally handed his chance away against Everton last weekend, with ten Hag starting the teenager alongside Scott McTominay in midfield.

He won the club’s Man of the Match award after an almost faultless display that announced himself to the world.

Mainoo’s performance impressed Man Utd legend Paul Scholes, who told TNT Sports: “I think Mainoo needs a run in the team. And from what we saw at Everton on Sunday, I think now it’s time to give him a chance.”

That sentiment is also felt by Ten Hag, who is evidently a huge admirer of the young midfielder.

Kobbie Mainoo, Man Utd
© ProShots - Kobbie Mainoo, Man Utd

What has Ten Hag said?

During a press conference ahead of his side’s clash against Newcastle this weekend, Ten Hag was questioned about what Mainoo’s greatest strength is.

“His scanning, it always looks like he has time," the Man Utd boss responded. “Because of his scanning, he is running free and the scanning to see the options and then make the right decisions. He can delay, he can speed up and he makes the right decisions.

While Mainoo started his first Premier League game against Everton last week, he was dropped to the bench for the trip to Galatasaray - a game in which Man Utd drew 3-3. Ten Hag was asked whether the teenager would return to the starting XI on Saturday evening.

“If he is ready or not, he showed on Sunday he was ready,” the Dutchman replied.

“We have to manage three games in six days to get the best results in all of those games. We have more than 11 players and we have good options there, like Sofyan [Amrabat], who also showed [that] as he played a very good game.

“We have many options but we have to manage the load of the players. It is also about freshness as well.”

Read more about: Premier League, Man Utd, Kobbie Mainoo

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