Kobbie Mainoo stole the show for Manchester United during their pre-season friendly clash with Arsenal, demonstrating exactly why Erik ten Hag continues to start him ahead of the new campaign

Kobbie Mainoo is a rising star

Kobbie Mainoo is a rising star

Manchester United fans are raving about midfield prodigy Kobbie Mainoo following his outstanding display against Arsenal.

Erik ten Hag decided to hand the academy starlet, 18, a third successive start in pre-season following good performances in previous clashes with Leeds and Lyon. Mainoo certainly made the most of his 45 minutes against Arsenal, once again pulling the strings in midfield and eventually assisting Bruno Fernandes for United’s opening goal in their 2-0 victory at the Metlife Stadium, New Jersey.

The Stockport-born midfielder roamed away from his holding role out to the right flank, taking the ball under control after a punt upfield from goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Mainoo then offloaded it Fernandes, who struck a rasping left-footed effort past Aaron Ramsdale. His assist prompted a wave of excitement among the United fan base, with social media ablaze with plaudits and praise.

“Kobbie Mainoo is a bloody gem,” one supporter declared. A second added: “Mainoo doesn’t look out of place at all. When he drops deep to help in the build-up, it’s cinema. So much composure and awareness for such a young player.”

Another followed up by saying: “He has been absolutely superb. Knew he was good, but some composure for an 18-year-old stepping into the first team.” A fourth cheekily noted: “Declan Rice must be enjoying learning how to play CDM by watching Kobbie Mainoo’s first-half masterclass.”

Mainoo, who made three first-team appearances including one start last season, evidently has Ten Hag’s faith and could be set for a huge campaign. According to recent reports, the Dutch boss has been so impressed with the teenage sensation that he doesn’t want to loan him out for 2023-24.

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Kobbie Mainoo is making himself seen by Manchester United fans Kobbie Mainoo is making himself seen by Manchester United fans (


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Ahead of Saturday’s friendly in New Jersey, Ten Hag was asked about his plans for Mainoo. “We have to see in pre-season,” the United manager replied. “He gets his chance because he deserves it. Because he showed it in the Under-21s and in our training.

“He showed a high level and now he has to show it in games. So pre-season is perfect to test him. He is an option to get into the game squad and to get playtime. We will see but I am confident he can do it and we have to wait we have test if it is going to happen.”

The 18-year-old is among a host of youngsters who’ve joined Ten Hag’s senior squad for their pre-season tour of the United States. Goalkeepers Nathan Bishop and Radek Vitek, left-back Alvaro Fernandez, midfielders Dan Gore and Hannibal Mejbri, and forward Omari Forson will all be keen to emulate Mainoo by impressing both their boss and United’s fan base.