Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, is eagerly awaiting the return of Kobbie Mainoo, believing that the young talent could be the solution to the team’s midfield struggles this season.
Manchester United endured a disappointing 4-3 defeat against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, highlighting their ongoing issues with physicality and versatility in midfield. This loss marked their fourth defeat in five matches and their third consecutive setback.
Despite his limited appearances for the first team, 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo has garnered significant attention within the club. Ten Hag has identified Mainoo as a potential remedy to their midfield challenges, with the young talent viewed as having a promising future within United’s first-team squad.
Pundit Chris Sutton echoed these sentiments when discussing United’s midfield vulnerabilities, stating, “I think Manchester United’s problem area, and I say problem area, but the biggest issue Manchester United have is that midfield area. I just do not think they have the legs and dynamism.”
These qualities, which Sutton believes are lacking, align with Mainoo’s attributes. Ten Hag previously asserted that Mainoo “is ready to take that (defensive) role.” In theory, Mainoo could partner with Casemiro, reducing the Brazilian’s workload and providing a solid foundation for the team’s attacking players.
Christian Eriksen has faced challenges alongside Casemiro this season, while Scott McTominay has not earned Ten Hag’s full confidence as a regular first-team player. The Scottish international has struggled to make an impact in midfield, despite West Ham’s £30 million bid for his services being rejected by United.
Sofyan Amrabat, signed on a season-long loan from Fiorentina, offers additional structure and energy to the midfield. Both Amrabat and Mainoo would likely be immediate selections for Ten Hag once they return to full fitness.
Mason Mount, another summer arrival, has also faced injury setbacks. Similar to Amrabat, Mount’s signing was based on his energy and pressing abilities, qualities that Eriksen, highly regarded for his technical skills, does not possess.
Manchester United fans may rue the multiple injuries in their squad, especially that of Kobbie Mainoo. The young talent showcased his potential during preseason and appeared poised for significant involvement in the early stages of the season had he not been sidelined. With Fred’s departure to Fenerbahce, a pathway had seemingly opened up for Mainoo.
Mainoo, who joined Manchester United at the age of nine, has represented England at the under-17, under-18, and under-19 levels. He is widely regarded as a promising talent with a bright future for both club and country, having made three appearances for Ten Hag’s side last season, including his league debut against Leicester in February.