Gareth Southgate Hails Kobbie Mainoo’s Impact For England

by 24britishtvMarch 27, 2024, 6 p.m. 19
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England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed the impact Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo has made in his first two appearances for the national side.

The 18-year-old midfielder made his England debut on Saturday against Brazil, coming on as a substitute after 75 minutes at Wembley stadium, and on Tuesday he started for the first time against Belgium.

Mainoo became the third youngest United player to start an England game at the age of 18 years and 342 days, behind Duncan Edwards (18 years and 183 days) and Marcus Rashford (18 years and 209 days).

On both occasions for England, Mainoo greatly impressed with his composure, technical ability, calmness on the ball and impressive range of passing.

"Everything that we've seen with his club, he reproduced in an England shirt which isn't always the case,” Southgate said on Tuesday after the 2-2 draw with Belgium at Wembley.

“He was very calm, receives the ball so well under pressure, strong, so we are a little bit more open playing that way but the benefits with the ball were clear to see."

After 17 minutes Mainoo provided the impetus for England’s first goal against Belgium, when he surged through the middle of the pitch, before finding Jude Bellingham with an astute pass. Bellingham moved the ball to Ivan Toney in the penalty area where the Brentford striker was fouled, before he converted the penalty.

When Mainoo was substituted in the second half Southgate made a point of embracing the player on the sideline, and told him he had had a “fabulous week” with the England squad.

"He seems very calm. You can see he is taking everything in,” Southgate has added.

"Talking to him tactically, he seems able to take all those concepts on. A lot of young players now, with their academy education, are able to do that. You can see his comfort with the ball and receiving in tight areas.”

"There are a lot of steps being taken in a very short period of time, but you saw in the brief cameo the other day [against Brazil] some of the qualities he has. Sometimes, with the really young ones, they are not even thinking about that.”

"It is all flowing and maybe then as you get a bit older you start to think about it a bit more. It is a beautiful, innocent moment when he is just in the flow and lapping up the opportunities as they come."

Mainoo made his first Premier League start for United in November 2023, and has now played a total 23 club games and become a starter for Erik ten Hag’s side.

It is now being speculated Mainoo has already become indispensable for England as well and should be a starter for Southgate at this summer’s 2024 European Championships in Germany.

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