Kobbie Mainoo: Man Utd midfielder handed first England call-up after being drafted in from Under-21s

Manchester United midfielder had been part of the England Under-21s group but has been drafted into Gareth Southgate’s squad for games against Brazil and Belgium; Mainoo’s late addition follows an impressive performance in epic FA Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool

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Following his call-up to the England squad, look back at the best of Kobbie Mainoo’s breakthrough debut season for Manchester United.

Kobbie Mainoo has been handed his first senior England call-up.

Manchester United’s 18-year-old midfielder was part of the Under-21s but has been drafted into Gareth Southgate’s squad for the March friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

Mainoo’s late addition to the senior group follows an impressive performance against Liverpool in Sunday’s epic 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final win.

Who is Kobbie Mainoo?

  • The 18-year-old midfielder came through Man Utd’s academy.
  • Made his senior debut against Chartlon aged 17 last season in the Carabao Cup.
  • Injury delayed his breakout season, with his Premier League debut coming at Everton in November.
  • He has made 20 first-team appearances this season, scoring twice.

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In a post on Instagram, Mainoo wrote: “It’s an honour to receive my first senior call-up.”

The rest of England’s now 26-player group reported to St George’s Park on Tuesday.

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The England manager praised Mainoo last week when addressing his initial decision to leave him out of the squad.

Image: Mainoo has been called up the England senior side

“I think Kobbie is doing brilliantly for a young player,” said Southgate. “We’re never slow to put a young player into the seniors, but he’s only had a handful of games. You have to be careful in making those decisions at the right time, and ideally we should allow him the space to develop at his own speed.

“He’s not at the point in terms of number of games that Jude [Bellingham] or Bukayo [Saka] were when they first came in, but I repeat – he’s doing really well, he’s a good footballer, you can see that, and he’s getting some fabulous experience with Man Utd and looks a good character.”

Mainoo has represented England at U17 and U19 level but could make his senior international debut without having played for the U21s.

Could Mainoo solve England’s midfield problem?

Image: Wataru Endo and Kobbie Mainoo battle for the ball

Sky Sports’ Zinny Boswell:

“Kobbie Mainoo has shown for Man Utd this season that he’s adept at playing in a holding role and as a box-to-box midfielder, but his best performances have come in those deeper positions. That suits England’s needs.

“Jude Bellingham has thrived as a No 10 for Real Madrid, with his 20 goals this season making him the most prolific midfielder in Europe. Declan Rice, meanwhile, has been best for Arsenal when given freedom to roam.

“It is the No 6 role which England have struggled to fill over the years. The problem dates back to the days of trying to fit Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes into the same midfield.

“Gareth Southgate’s most awkward issue is not having the chance to test out the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield against top opposition before the Euros. This would’ve been the perfect opportunity and he would undoubtedly be his first choice.

“Perhaps now the door opens for Mainoo. The England manager appears to be in two minds about throwing the 18-year-old straight in, although his showing at Old Trafford on Sunday seems to have eased some of those concerns.

“Southgate considering Mainoo as a starter at the Euros seems like a long-shot, though, despite the clamour for him to complete a midfield three of himself, Rice and Bellingham.

“The next two weeks are a chance for the Man Utd midfielder to make his case. If he continues to play this well, then it won’t be long before he is a starter for England.”

Updated England squad for March friendlies

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kyle Walker (Man City).

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Ajax), James Maddison (Tottenham), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Kobbie Mainoo (Man Utd).

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Man City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

Sourse: skysports.com

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